I always find that preparing a homily is a big challenge. It is always a challenge to make the scripture readings relevant, relatable and making sense for the people of God.
One priest I heard said that a good homily must be like a woman’s skirt – ‘short enough to arouse interest and long enough to cover the essentials.’ Another one said: ‘Short homilies move hearts, long homilies move chairs.’ Another principle in homiletics is KISS (Keep it short and simple). But I would say, one great help, in fact my main helper in preparing and giving my homily is the Holy Spirit. More often than not, as I stood in the sanctuary for the homily I could never be faithful to what I have written on the paper. Often I am just surprised to realise I am already speaking from the heart. I often credit those moments to the Holy Spirit, not to put the blame on God when I have said something controversial but because of certain experience of peace, serenity and wonder that comes out of it.
Sometimes I would just ask myself “Where did that come from?” I believe it was from the Holy Spirit. And it is.
Thanks be to Jesus who assures us that even if he would have to leave us for the time being anyway, he would never leave us orphans.
In today’s gospel, Jesus assures his disciples that though he has to leave them, he will leave them with the Holy Spirit, the Advocate would teach us everything, remind us of Jesus and to lead us to the truth. This Holy Spirit has since been the guide, the power, the wisdom, the life of the Church for two millenia now and counting. Without the Holy Spirit, the Church would never have lasted this long and even longer. If Jesus is God with us (Emmanuel), the Holy Spirit is God within us.
Without the Holy Spirit, we are lifeless, meaningless and clueless as to where we are going. Today, let us thank the Holy Spirit for the life, the love, the meaning and the gifts that he has given us. I pray you all have a spirit-filled and a grace-filled week.