Psalm 68:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
We, as Church, celebrate the last week of the Easter season anticipating the feast of Pentecost this Sunday. The first reading today, one of encouragement, recounts Paul’s question to the people in Ephesus if they have received the Holy Spirit. As they respond that they do not know the Holy Spirit, he tells the people to believe in Jesus Christ. As they profess their belief in the name of the Lord Jesus, he lays hands on them and they receive the Holy Spirit with all the power of the gifts of the Holy Spirit fully bestowed. What does this say to your heart and to mine?
For those of us who are Christians, we have received the Holy Spirit in Baptism and in Confirmation. The gifts are indwelling. We don’t need to do anything; we don’t need to earn or accomplish anything. We have been recipients of the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling. However, there is a daily invitation for you and I to choose to believe in the Lord Jesus and to accept and activate these gifts. How often do we “exercise” these gifts of indwelling love? How often do you and I pray that these gifts might come to full stature in us?
We know that for our health and well being we need to exercise regularly. In a similar way, we need to exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are indwelling, lest they atrophy. How? By asking God for wisdom in the midst of tough decisions. By entrusting all the pains and sorrows of our hearts to Jesus who is Lord over all to let the power of the Holy Spirit transform. By asking the Holy Spirit to stir up His understanding, courage and fortitude when we are in the midst of life struggles. And by asking that the sacramental gifts that have been bestowed be brought to full measure. For those of you who are married, imagine asking that Holy Spirit stir into flame the sacramental graces of your marriage. For those of you who are ordained, most especially in this time of deep suffering, imagine asking the Holy Spirit to fan the flame of your ordination into full power. For those who are single, imagine asking that the gifts of Baptism be stirred into fullness that you might burn with love for those He brings to you to love.
As we approach Pentecost, I urge all of us to ask boldly for a New Pentecost for ourselves, our Church, and our world. How deeply we need Jesus’ truth and love.
In John’s Gospel today, Jesus says: “In the world you will
have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world." (John
16:33) Jesus longs for us to be comforted and strengthened by His
words. Take courage. Jesus asks us to believe with our whole
hearts, our whole souls, and our whole strength that He is Lord and to
place everything into His hands. In this belief, in our asking, the
fire of the Holy Spirit is ignited in our hearts and our world.
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