Oh Lord, Renew Us With Your Spirit!
Readings: 1st: Acts 2: 1-11; Ps 103: 24-34; 2nd: 1Cor 12: 3-7.12-12; Gos Jh 20: 19-23
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today is Pentecost Sunday, the great day of a fulfilled promise. After a period of fifty days of the resurrection of Christ, we have come to the definitive end of Easter Season. Pentecost is a feast which occupies a very important and prominent position in the Church’s history and liturgical calendar. This is because a great number of scholars have suggested that Pentecost marks the actual beginning of the church and, her missionary endeavors.
From the first reading of this Sunday we see the reward of faithful obedience and steadfastness in prayer. Like the early disciples, every true believer has been empowered by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we celebrate today a great feast, when Christ filled and equipped his church with the power of his Spirit and sent us out into the world to bring peace, unity, joy, forgiveness, love and eternal life to all humankind. In the second reading of today, Paul makes a very important statement: “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.” This means that it is God himself that enables us through the Holy Spirit to recognize the lordship of Christ. Recognizing the lordship of Christ is one task that was very difficult for the Satan. Due to pride, the Holy Spirit left him. To say “Jesus is Lord” is to live humbly, and have him as the lord of our life.
In the gospel Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon his disciples in order to restore their peace and to free them from fears. This is what we need most in our world. What then will the Holy Spirit that we have received help us to accomplish? First, the Spirit we have received is not the spirit of fear and timidity. According to our Catechism, it is the Spirit that empowers us and makes us strong Christians and soldiers of Christ (CCC 1302). This means that we must no longer be timid Christians, but Christians who are bold enough to call God our Father. Second, he will help us bear good fruits (Gal 5, 22). The Holy Spirit will lead us into the kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy. He will lead us away from all that is evil and bring us to the fullness of life. However, it is important to note that as a person, the Holy Spirit can be offended (Eph 4, 30). So, as we rejoice at this wonderful gesture that God extended to us today, let us equally ask him for the grace to be docile to the Spirit we have received, and that by our actions we might not grieve Him.
As we celebrate this year’s Pentecost, we must ask ourselves these pertinent questions: “What does the Holy Spirit wants us to do, and where is He leading us?” Reflecting over these important questions and many more is very important especially now that our world has become so complex that one hardly understands what is happening. It is sad to note that families, societies, communities, states and the world (in spite of being referred as a global village) are drifting apart, thus becoming more complex than ever. In a world filled with much complexities and confusions, only the Holy Spirit can restore order and calm our fears. He alone can empower us to face the challenges of our lives, families, communities, and world. He alone can give us the right insight needed to navigate through the complex seas of our daily life.
In view of this, we must pause and listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say to us and what direction He wishes to lead us. We must ask Him this Pentecost to show us a new direction. Let us give him more chance to decide what happens in our lives, families and communities. Rather than by sight alone, let us walk by the Holy Spirit of God because: “…Not by power nor by might, but by my spirit, says the Lord Almighty (Zach 4, 6).” If He leads us, we shall never be confused no matter how complex our world becomes. Therefore, let us pray: “O Lord, Send forth your spirit and renew the face of the Earth, alleluia!”
Peace be with you!!