A Reading from the Holy Gospel According to John.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”
Transcription of Sermon (Given to Primary School Students)
I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He will give you.
The Gospel of the Lord.
These words that Our Lord speaks about the Disciples not seeing Him becoming very sad, and then seeing Him again, He says these words in the Last Supper, so it’s right before He goes into His Passion, and His Crucifixion. And so, He’s preparing His friends for some very difficult times. But He says, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll come back’. Obviously, He’s referring to the Resurrection, but why do we have this Gospel today? Because we’re preparing for the Great Feast of Pentecost. Pentecost is the great feast after Our Lord rose up to Heaven on Ascension Thursday. Our Lord rose up into Heaven and, nine days later, He sent us a Holy Spirit.
You’ve probably heard the term novena before. Novena is nine days of prayer. Well, that was the first novena; waiting from Ascension Thursday in prayer until Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles, on the Church, and He filled their hearts. He transformed them; all of the Disciples, those who had been fearful, those who had been hiding, those who denied Christ in His Passion. All of a sudden with the reception of the Holy Spirit, they became really strong, and they had an interior strength. They had a strength in them that they had never had before. And that was because of this invasion of the Holy Spirit in their souls.
So, imagine, some saints you know, have had visions of Christ; they saw Him in their prayer or they saw the Blessed Mother. Imagine if Christ hadn’t gone away. If Christ hadn’t rose up to heaven. What would happen? He would be in one place. And I’m sure people would flock to see Him, but He would be in one place. Maybe in Rome, who knows? But the fact is, in going up to Heaven and sending us the Holy Spirit into our souls, Christ is wherever we are. Because, thanks to the life of grace, we have Him within us. And so, rather than seeing Christ outside of us, we have Him within us, and this is a great gift. It can be lost. It can be lost if we commit a sin, but we can regain it through Confession. But there’s no greater gift than that; to have Christ within us, the Spirit of God within us.
And imagine if you had a friend come from Mexico to visit you, and he was staying in your house, I’m sure you would spend time talking to your friend. I’m sure you would make your friend feel comfortable. You would show all sorts of signs of hospitality, making sure that your friend is taken care of. Because that’s what friends do.
Well, Christ sent us the Holy Spirit who came all the way from heaven to live in our souls, and sometimes we cannot show Him all of the signs of friendship that we should. We forget about Him. And He knows that. He’s very patient. He’s very forgiving. But it’s good for us to remember that when we have Our Lord living in our souls, we ought to go and talk to Him frequently. Spend time with Him. That’s what friends do. We talk with our friends. We spend time with our friends. And that’s what Our Lord wants. He wants us to be His best friends. And we make the effort, He will bless that for sure.
So, we have these days to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. And, when we are truly friends of Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit with great gratitude, but also recognizing that in this gift comes lots of responsibility. Lots of responsibility to be good friends, to be faithful friends. That means to go to Mass on Sundays, to pray every day, and to live in a way that we know will make Him proud to call us friends, and that sometimes isn’t always easy. So that’s why He sends us the Holy Spirit to help us so that we can have that same strength that the Apostles had to do things that they were incapable of doing before.
In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
— Fr. Ermatinger