Come, Holy Spirit! Today we celebrate Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the first disciples and on all who are baptized. We also commemorate the birth of the Church. Before Pentecost, the disciples remained hidden and uncertain; at Pentecost, those who were gathered were filled with the Spirit and proclaimed the wonders of the Good News of Christ to all. The Spirit guides us to the truth of Christ’s love and mercy and strengthens us to live as disciples. Without the Holy Spirit, we would perish; with the Spirit, we have life to the full. Relying on the Spirit, we are given the grace to turn away from the many temptations that we face each day and prefer instead what is good and holy. Come, Holy Spirit, come!
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
As followers of Jesus, we are called to direct our minds and hearts to Christ’s love, turning away from all that is not of God in order to be more Christ-like in our daily lives. The more we invite the Holy Spirit to draw us close to God’s heart, the more readily we will avoid sin and choose life, faith, and love. In the letter to the Galatians, we hear a list of things that those who live in the Spirit are to avoid. Things like immorality, hatred, jealousy, and selfishness. At first glance, we might think to ourselves, “of course I want to avoid those things,” and yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we likely recognize some of those patterns in our lives. Upon further reflection, however, we also see that these negative behaviors pose temporary pleasure while the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—lead to a life of deep and lasting fulfillment.
NOTHING WILL STAND IN THE WAY
The Jewish people who had gathered in Jerusalem for the festival of Pentecost came from every corner of the world. They spoke many languages and yet were drawn to hear the message of Christ from the disciples who had just experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They were astonished by what they heard—not only the message, but the way in which it was conveyed, in their own language, and by the messengers, people whom they would have considered ordinary and unremarkable, rather than the acknowledged religious leaders of their time. We, too, are called to share the love and mercy of Christ through word and action, even when we feel small and insignificant. We need only to look at the witness and experience of those first disciples and all the saints who have preceded us to know that we are capable of much when we place our lives in God’s hands. Nothing can stand in the way of the incredible love of God when we are filled with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit!