Sunday, 19 May 2024. Readings: Acts 28:16-20,30-31, Ps. 11:4-5,7, John 21:20-25

“Walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other.” (Galatians 5:16-17)

Today’s original Feast dates back to the Old Testament times. Pentecost, meaning fifty, is the second of the great Jewish national festivals observed on the 50th day, or seven weeks, from the Paschal Feast Passover (2nd Chronicles 8:12-13). On one of such Feasts of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down mightily upon the Church as we read today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

On that beautiful Sunday morning, exactly fifty days after the resurrection of Christ, the community of believers, including Mary, the Mother of Jesus, were gathered in one place when they received the physical manifestation and outpouring of the Holy Spirit. As the church was gathered in one place, praying and worshipping God, we are gathered today, and we all ask God for another outpouring of the Holy Spirit. More than ever before, the church today is in dire need of the Holy Spirit. So many things have gone wrong. We have lost our drive for evangelisation, compromised our values, and allowed pleasure and material comfort to take a higher place. These are very dark moments.

Dear friends, how do we know when the Holy Spirit is present in us? In today's second reading, St. Paul answers this question: “The fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23). In our Gospel passage, Jesus identifies the Holy Spirit with four qualities: Counselling, Witnessing, Truth (Revelation) and Glory.

1. Counsellor: The Holy Spirit is the Counsellor; He gives advice and direction in life. Are you confused? Not sure where exactly to turn? Call on the Counsellor; reach out for the Holy Spirit. He understands what you are going through better than any human being can. The Holy Spirit tells us what to do and is right there with us, within our reach at any time. He goes with us and is the best friend we can ever have. Become devoted to the Holy Spirit today. Get used to that prayer: “Come, Holy Spirit, Come!”

2. Witness: Do you want to preach Christ to the world? Do you want to change the world? The Holy Spirit is exactly what you need. Without the Holy Spirit in us, we become negative adverts of Christ; without the Holy Spirit at work, we Christians witness against Christ. As St. Paul explains, when we do not give in to the impulses of the Spirit, the flesh takes over. We who claim to be close to God find ourselves scandalising even the unbelievers.

3. Truth – Revelation: Jesus Christ admitted that he couldn’t tell us everything we need to know about God during his earthly sojourn. Even the little he said and did is not all in the Bible. St. John said if all were to be written, the world would not contain all the books that would have to be written. (John 21:25). The Holy Spirit is the source and final arbiter of Truth. Jesus said: “He will guide you into all the truth… he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:13). Is there something in the Bible you do not understand? Are you beginning to doubt if God exists? Do you want to know God better or desire to have an apparition? Call on the Holy Spirit today. He is the light you need amid your darkness.

4. Glory: As Jesus says, the Holy Spirit is the Source of Glory. What does this mean? There is no competition in the Trinity. The Holy Spirit does not outshine Jesus; he glorifies Jesus by taking what is his and declaring it to us. If the Holy Spirit is the agent of glory, it means that the only glory we should seek is that which the Holy Spirit gives. Human glory is vain and extremely limited. We should never seek to be praised by people; the only glory we should work for is that which God alone gives.

Finally, dear friends, let us open our hearts today for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. As we remember that day that the church was born, that day that all timidity and fear was wiped out of the believers, that day that the church received fire and utterance to spread the message across the world, we sincerely pray that God may find us worthy again to receive that fire and begin a new era of Christianity. Amen

Let us pray: Come Holy Spirit, fill our hearts, and enkindle in us your Sacred Fire. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Remember, amid all challenges, choose to be happy. Live with a positive mindset and believe in God’s plan for you. God bless you abundantly. (Pentecost - Mass of the Day Liturgical Colour: Red. Bible Study: Acts 2:1-11, Ps. 104:1,24,29-31,34, Galatians 5:16-25, John 15:26-27; 16:12-15).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu