Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Rev 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29.

I will be on special assignment both this weekend and next weekend, therefore the thoughts I will post will be fairly abbreviated. Nevertheless, I hope they are of some help. Blessed preaching!

Jesus answered and said to his disciples, Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.

THE WORD is mentioned in these two verses 3 times. The word is to be kept. Keeping the word is an expression of love. The word is from the Father and is communicated through and in the Son. Perhaps there is a homily here which highlights the life-saving and life-changing power of the Word of God. Further, what might precede the 3 aforementioned statements of THE WORD is that the word must be listened to and read in order for it to be kept, to be made an expression of love, and for it to be heard from its source -- God the Father.

Perhaps an image that many people could plug into regarding Words that must be kept can be found in a wedding ceremony -- specifically wedding vows. Words are spoken that are kept. Further, these words are an expression of love. However, the words spoken between a man and a woman at their wedding speak of the beautiful and profound love they promise to each other.

The difference between wedding vows and the Gospel this week is that one might make a case that the Word of God which is revealed in the entirety of Sacred Scripture can be seen as a blueprint for living in every time and in every situation. Also, these are not words spoken from one person to another; rather from God Himself to His Children. In Sacred Scripture there can be found an answer to moral dilemmas, to every questions, and to spiritual questions. In Sacred Scripture there can be found the way to lasting happiness, to fulfilling joy, and to deep peace. In Sacred Scripture there can be found the truest examples of sacrifice, of service, and of selflessness. In Sacred Scripture there can be found practical advice for daily living. In Sacred Scripture there can be found a font of hope, of courage and of fortitude which constantly overcomes the face of darkness and oppression.

Who wants to live a life without these elements in them? Why would we not listen to and read the Word of God? Why not keep the Word of God? Why not allow the Word of God to take root in us and make us instruments of love?

I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name--he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, I am going away and I will come back to you. If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.

I love the practicality of the reasons for sending of the Holy Spirit. We need to be taught and then we need to be reminded of what was taught. Makes sense to me -- especially the reminder part. In this passage we are given the Peace of Christ -- again. We are also told not to be afraid -- again. Jesus knows human nature. He knows every hair on our heads. Jesus knows that lasting happiness will come by keeping his word. He wants that for us. He knows that we need to be reminded of what was taught. He has arranged for that to happen. He knows that we need peace. He has given us that. He knows that fear paralyzes us from being the instruments of love that he wants us to be. He tells us not to be afraid. This is practical advice for our day to day living.

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