First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 8:5-8, 14-17

Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ to them. With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing. For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured. There was great joy in that city. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

Second Reading
1 Peter 3:15-18

Beloved: Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.

Gospel Cycle Cycle A
John 14:15-21

Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence—these words from the First Letter of Peter are in our second reading today. This is a program for evangelization. We can hear the challenge that we are supposed to live in such a way that people will ask us how we have such hope. This is not a religion which calls us to observe laws and decrees. Rather, our faith, our religion, calls us to live with joy and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter what happens.

We don’t live that way far too often and so the new evangelization has to begin with us, with you and with me. We must learn to live each day aware of the presence of the Lord Jesus in our lives, calling on Him with joy and delight, calling out to him in times of trouble and affliction.

Christ is risen! That has changed the world completely. These days of the Easter Season need to make us profoundly aware how different our world is because of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus.

Perhaps today we can begin already to call on the Holy Spirit. The Gospel today, from Saint John, begins to speak about the Holy Spirit that our Lord Jesus sends to us. We need to ask for this Spirit to be more strongly present within us, so that our lives can be lived with faith, hope and love. We want to call out to the Spirit in every situation, asking for wisdom and guidance about how best to live. No matter what afflictions come into our lives, we can turn to the Holy Spirit as Consoler and as Advocate to help us.

Our first reading today, from the Acts of the Apostles, speaks eloquently about the Holy Spirit and the need to receive the Holy Spirit. For many of us Catholics, we were baptized young and confirmed in the Holy Spirit without any personal experience of the Lord Jesus or of the Holy Spirit. We need to keep praying for a deepening of our personal experience of the Lord Jesus and for the Holy Spirit to transform us. We have Jesus Christ and we have the Holy Spirit, but we need to ask them to truly possess us completely.

My sisters and brothers, these times are so wonderful when we celebrate the presence of the Lord! These days of Easter leading up to the Ascension and to Pentecost invite us to live this mystery of the love Jesus has for us in his death and resurrection. Let us rejoice and be glad and call on the Lord Jesus and on the Holy Spirit to possess us each day more completely. Let us rejoice in the Lord.

Come, Holy Spirit! Jesus, send your Spirit! Alleluia!