Sunday, May 19, 2013

May 19th 2013 - The Descent of the Holy Spirit

 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.


Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.


But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea... So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls (Acts 2:1-4).


Jesus has kept his promise

The solemn coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was not an isolated event. There is hardly a page in the Acts of the Apostles where we fail to read about him and the action by which he guides, directs and enlivens the life and work of the early Christian community. It is he who inspires the preaching of Saint Peter, who strengthens the faith of the disciples, who confirms with his presence the calling of the gentiles, who sends Saul and Barnabas to the distant lands where they will open new paths for the teaching of Jesus. In a word, his presence and doctrine are everywhere.

The profound reality which we see in the texts of holy Scripture is not a remembrance from the past, from some golden age of the Church which has since been buried in history. Despite the weaknesses and the sins of every one of us, it is the reality of today’s Church and the Church of all time. I will ask the Father, our Lord told his disciples, and he will give you another Counselor to dwell with you forever. (Jn 14:16) Jesus has kept his promise. He has risen from the dead, and in union with the eternal Father, he sends us the Holy Spirit to sanctify us and to give us life. Christ is Passing By, 127-128

To live according to the Holy Spirit

To live according to the Holy Spirit means to live by faith and hope and charity – to allow God to take possession of our lives and to change our hearts, to make us resemble him more and more. A mature and profound Christian life cannot be improvised, because it is the result of the growth of God’s grace in us. In the Acts of the Apostles we find the early Christian community described in a single sentence, brief but full of meaning: and they continued steadfastly in the teaching of the apostles and in the communion of the breaking of the bread and in prayers.

…There are no second class Christians, obliged to practice only a simplified version of the Gospel. We have all received the same baptism, and although there is a great variety of spiritual gifts and human situations, there is only one Spirit who distributes God’s gifts, only one faith, only one hope, only one love.

And so we can apply to ourselves the question asked by the Apostle: Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Cor 3:16) And we can understand it as an invitation to deal with God in a more personal and direct manner. For some, unfortunately, the Paraclete is the Great Stranger, the Great Unknown. He is merely a name that is mentioned, but not Someone, not one of the three persons in the one God, with whom we can talk and with whose life we can live.

We have to deal with him simply and trustingly, as we are taught by the Church in its liturgy. Then we will come to know our Lord better, and at the same time, we will realize more fully the great favor that has been granted us when we became Christians. We will see all the greatness and truth of the divinization to which I referred before, which is a sharing in God’s own life.

Christ is Passing By, 134

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