Today is Pentecost, the 50th day after Easter, when the Catholic Church celebrates the coming down of the Holy Spirit onto the Apostles, and consequently the birth of the Church. Yesterday, I was at a local Catholic young adults event where Eric Chow was speaking on the Holy Spirit. I took away the following thoughts:
The Holy Spirit invites us to commit to being an active part of the Church’s mission, to spread the Good News to the world. As Christians, we reciprocate God’s love for us by developing our personal relationship with God and so being in a relationship with the Holy Spirit means being part of this mission. We are called to be witnesses (Acts 1:8), which can be difficult in these times as the rest of the world doesn’t see the value. However, we should witness by our lives, demonstrated by our character and actions. We share what we’ve seen and what we’ve heard, like a witness in court, speaking that Jesus Christ is alive and risen, real and relevant to us. The Holy Spirit prompted Philip to travel and to talk with the Ethiopian eunuch which led to the eunuch’s baptism (Acts 8:26-40): we might be called to do something we don’t understand, but we move towards it. Philip accompanies the eunuch, and in a similar way we should accompany others on their spiritual journeys and also be accompanied by others on our own spiritual journey.
How can we be aware of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives? For some of us, the introduction of the Holy Spirit into our lives at baptism and confirmation are further in the past than others, and it may be harder to understand how the Holy Spirit is at work. We can look in two areas:
- The fruits of the Holy Spirit: charity/love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
- Using our God-given charisms for good, in cooperation with the Holy Spirit and the church.
Finally, the Upper Room, where Pentecost took place, is now pretty empty. The early Apostles were gathered there after Jesus’ Ascension, but they were never meant to stay there. They were lit by the Holy Spirit and sent out into the world to evangelize and share Jesus with the world. We also have the Holy Spirit dwelling in our own hearts and we are to go out into the world in the same way. [Also, a pilgrimage to the Holy Land should almost be like a fifth gospel, our own walking in Jesus’ footsteps and sharing that with the world.]