May 19, 2012 - Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Acts 18:23-28
Psalm 47:2-3, 8-10
John 16:23-28

“Until now you have not asked anything in my name.” Does this sentence apply to you? Surely we have all asked for something in the name of Jesus. We are Christians. The name of Jesus should be always in our thoughts, on our lips, and in our hearts. Yet Jesus may be speaking in hyperbole here, as he says, “I have told you this in figures of speech.” He says, “you have not asked for anything”, but perhaps he means “you have not asked for anything of real significance. My Father is rich beyond measure. You have asked for small things, but, until now, you have not asked for the most important thing. Expand your imagination.”

What else could be meant in this case, other than the Holy Spirit? Anything less is nothing in comparison. We are being invited to ask the Father, in the name of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to send the Holy Spirit to dwell within our hearts. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us. The Holy Spirit is God himself. God is always trying to give himself to us, if only we would ask. As the Son came from the Father to us in order to die for us and rise again, so too does the Holy Spirit come from the Father and the Son to help us die and rise again. The Son has returned to the Father, but the Holy Spirit remains with us, to strengthen us.

“Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” What other gift could possibly complete our joy? The Holy Spirit is a fire that consumes our soul with desire for heaven. When we have the joy of the Holy Spirit, nothing can make us forget. Our greatest danger in this life is that we will forget our joy. Our greatest danger in this life is that we will live like people without hope.

The Holy Spirit is the only sure antidote to this threat. Without the Holy Spirit, the world begins to look like the best we have got. It is not much, it is certainly not enough, but perhaps, we fear, it is everything. With the Holy Spirit, the world takes on a different aspect. It is one of the gifts of God to us and not even the greatest.