May 6, 2002 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Reading (Acts 16:11-15) Gospel (St. John 15:26-16:4a)
In the Gospel reading today Our Lord tells us that He is going to send us His Holy Spirit, the Advocate or the Paraclete, who comes from the Father. In fact, as He says, He proceeds from the Father. This is actually where we get the word that we use in the Creed when we profess our belief in the Trinity, and in particular on this point of the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son. It comes right out of John 15, and that is why we profess that belief. The Holy Spirit who is God, fully God, united perfectly in the oneness of the Holy Trinity, He is the one that God has sent into our hearts. Now of course, wherever one of the Persons of the Trinity is, all three are there. So it is not merely the Holy Spirit who is given to us, but the Father and the Son are there as well, and They dwell within.
The problem is that for many of us, there is so much sin that we do not recognize the Trinity dwelling within. We know that it is true because Scripture tells us that it is true. Our Lord tells us that anyone who loves Him, will love the Father and They will come and make Their dwelling within us. We have heard it from the time we were little children. The question is not whether we believe it or not, the question is whether we are willing to unite ourselves with it. Because if we really, truly accept this teaching, that the Lord has sent the Holy Spirit to us, and therefore the Trinity dwells within us, that should change our entire lives.
We cannot live according to the spirit of the world any longer because the Spirit of God actually possesses us. The question that we have to ask is do we want to be possessed by the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is the one who possessed Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the one who gives life to the Church. The Holy Spirit is the one who gives life to each and every Christian person, not natural life, but supernatural life. But if we choose to live in the natural way instead of the supernatural way; if we choose the ways of the world; and in fact these days, because it is so filled with Satan that it is a sub-natural way rather than a supernatural way, and that is the way that most people on the face of this earth have chosen to live; if that is what we want, we reject the Holy Spirit. Even if we are in the state of grace, we still bury the Trinity deep within, so that He really does not have much opportunity to work in our lives. God who created us with a free will, will never violate that. Even though He is within us, if we are in the state of grace, He will not force us to do anything. He is there offering. He is there inviting. He is there in the fullness of His being. But if we want to keep Him at an armís distance, He is willing to allow that to happen. So we need to make the choice.
God has done everything. He has become man. He has died for us. He has sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. He has given us everything to be saints, everything to grow in holiness. It is all there for us, if we are willing to say yes. If we are willing to reject the spirit of the world and accept the Spirit of almighty God. That is a pretty simple choice when we look at it objectively, but it is the subjective element that is the hard part for us. Do we really want it? Do we want the change that will be required? Do we want what is going to follow from it? Do we really want to be saints? That is what the Lord is offering to us, and in fact, it is something which has already been given. All we need to do is say yes.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.