May 22, 2010
“Breathe the Holy Spirit”
Pentecost Sunday (C)
May 23, 2010
John 20:19-23 “As the Father sent me, so I send you. Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Today is Pentecost Sunday – also known as the birthday of the Church. This was the day when the disciples received the Holy Spirit and transformed themselves from simple timid fishermen to energetic charismatic disciples of Jesus. That was the work of the Spirit.
As we celebrate this feast, it is good to stop and reflect for a while the state of the Catholic Church today. The Church is under serious attack from many parts of the world. We are scandalized and discouraged from the news of scandals done by the clergies; even Pope Benedict VI is not spared from the attacks. Although we know that scandals are widespread in many religious and social institutions, we cannot not help but ask ourselves, “What’s happening in the Church? Who are our enemies? What do we do now?”
Since the beginning, the Church enemies – kings, emperors, anti-catholic groups and individuals, atheists, schisms, new ideologies – have tried in vain to destroy the Church. They failed and the Church flourished. In the midst of persecutions and crisis, God intervened and raised Spirit-filled men and women to save the Church. That was the work of the Spirit.
Today is a different story. Our real enemy is more dangerous, cunning and knows us well. The battle fields are no longer the plains and seas, emperors’ courts, lions’ den or coliseums. Our enemy deeply hates us – the devil; and the battle ground is inside us - our hearts. With an increasing incidence of sexual scandals, broken families, hopelessness, hatred, violence, loneliness and other forms of moral, social and spiritual degradation, it’s clear that the devil and its cohorts are gaining grounds. They cunningly sneak themselves in our fears, selfishness and sins; and they control us in the process. They are desperate to take away the Holy Spirit from us; for without the Spirit - the giver of life, light, and hope - we are good as dead.
In our gospel today, Jesus gave his peace to the disciples, commanded them to preach the good news and breathed on them the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gave them new strength, hope and renewal – a rekindling of fire within themselves! When the Spirit of God rules our hearts, peace, transformation, and a sense of mission follows. This is the work of the Holy Spirit.
Through baptism, we received the Holy Spirit and its seven gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. Do you use them in your daily discernment and dealings with others? Do you feel love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23)? They are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Live and cooperate with the Spirit and you will be renewed and empowered every day. The Spirit’s power is with us; but sad to say, we barely use it.
The Holy Spirit is with us. Now is the time to purify our hearts from all traces of evil. What areas of your life need conversion, rejuvenation or renewal? Pray to the Holy Spirit for courage, guidance, and enlightenment. Then breathe-out all your sins, fears, and doubts and slowly breathe-in God’s peace and forgiveness. Evil may come strong for us, but the power of the Holy Spirit is much greater. Listen to the Spirit and obey his promptings - and you will see wonders in your life.
For those who daily seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, every day – is Pentecost day.
“Come Holy Spirit, rekindle the fire within us, and we shall renew the face of the earth.”
- Fr. Willy M. Samson,SJ / Blessed Sacrament Parish, Hollywood / May 23, 2010