THEME: THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS US TO DO GOOD.
(1st Reading: Acts 2:1-11; 2nd Reading: Romans 8:8-17; Gospel: John 14:15-16, 23-26)
Today, the Holy Mother Church celebrates in a very special way the Pentecost Sunday; the decent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and Blessed Virgin Mary! It is a celebration in honour of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Most Blessed Trinity; one in being with the Father and the Son, and equal to them in every respect.
Meanwhile, on the day Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven, He promised to send His disciples the Comforter, the Power 💥 of the Most High God, who will be with them till the end of time (Acts 1:8). Consequently, that promise which Jesus made to the disciples just as in today’s Gospel: “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you… But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:18, 26), is being fulfilled today in our lives.
This is a memorial day that the Church was born in order to continue the salvific mission and to courageously bear witness to the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Moreover, the actual birth of the Church was on Calvary, while Jesus Christ hung on the Cross, in fulfilment of His prophecy: “…when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself” (John 12:32). But, Pentecost Sunday marks the day that the Church was first introduced to the world, that is, the first public outing of the Church.
Today, there is a major renewal of interest in the Holy Spirit and spiritual charisms. In the first reading, the disciples were inundated by the Power of the Holy Spirit, which engendered mutual love, forgiveness, peace, generosity and unity in diversity among many people of diverse cultures present, without any discrimination or confusion that was witnessed at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. Unfortunately, many gifts of the Holy Spirit are restricted to spectacular, extraordinary and momentary phenomena which often become a cause of rivalry, conflict and division.
Undoubtedly, the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in us may not manifest unless we are, first of all, aware of that presence and that action, and secondly, we make ourselves available for their manifestation in us. For wherever the Holy Spirit is, there is Liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17). So, how do we recognize His presence and be sure that we are truly led by Him? Certainly, the litmus tests are: only when we love (sacrifice) sincerely, forgive no matter the offence, instigate unity in our community, show compassion, detach ourselves from earthly possessions as well exhibit other fruits of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise we should pray and invite Him to possess us.
The second reading describes a consequence of the presence of the Spirit. Each of us has been given gifts by the same Spirit and they must not be a source of competition, but must rather be put at the service of unity. The Holy Spirit is the new law, the force that leads us to do good, which pulls down barriers, and wherever it enters it destroys sin. He will never tell us that everything in our journey of life will be smooth and without hitch at all.… No, that is the deceptive voice of the evil spirit. For life is not a bed of roses, but imbued with plethora of challenges.
As the scripture says: “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him” (Romans 8:15-17).
However, the Holy Spirit helps us to navigate through the vicissitudes of life unscathed. As a matter of fact, He corrects and guides us along the way, and never leaves us lying on the ground even when we sin or offend God. Rather, He takes us by the hand, comforts us and constantly encourages us (Proverbs 24:16). He makes us weep for our sins; pushes us to frequent confessions, genuine repentance and change of heart; that is, to fight against our lies, deceptions, hatred, rivalry, disunity, wickedness, etc., even when that calls for hard work, interior struggle and sacrifice.
Furthermore, the Holy Spirit pushes us to love and to always do what is pleasing in the sight of God in accordance with the scriptures. Certainly, charisms that build up faith and unity in the Christian community, and lead to greater understanding, forgiveness and service, are true signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, the Holy Spirit is sent for a purpose: to remind the disciples of the teachings of Jesus Christ and to instruct them further; to invest the apostles with the authority to forgive sins (John 20:22-23); to build up the faith and unity of the Christian community through various gifts of the Spirit, rejuvenates the Church and teaches her to be an open house of unity without walls of division. Hence, as Christians, who are now the present disciples of Christ and the embodiments or temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), we are now charged with the responsibility of propagating the Power of God beyond the frontiers of the earth through love, peace, kindness, unity, forgiveness, generosity, etc.
Therefore, as the heavily dew🔥 (Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Fortitude, Counsel, Piety, Holy Fear) falls on the disciples today, may the Power 💥 of the Most High God penetrate your inmost heart and reinvigorate, strengthen and fortify you and your entire family so as to produce more Fruits 🍇🍓🍅 of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, generosity, self-control, modesty and chastity), in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Peace of Christ be with you…
Rev. Fr. Benjamin Okala, C.S.Sp.
HAPPY FEAST OF PENTECOST!!!
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