Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…,
Today we celebrate the birthday of the Church. It is fifty days after Jesus’s resurrection from the dead and ten days after his ascension into heaven. This is the day that the Holy Spirit came up on the Apostles and Blessed Mother. This is the day the people, divided by different languages, were united in one faith in Jesus Christ. This is the day they were filled with the Holy Spirit. St. Peter proclaimed to the people who gathered around their house, that Jesus, whom they crucified, is the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
I am sure you have all heard people say that we use only 1% of our brains and that we could achieve so much more if we put our brains to better use. I think we could say the same about our reliance on the Holy Spirit. Maybe we rely only 1% on the Holy Spirit. People praying in tongues led by the Holy Spirit are just a tiny glimpse of what could happen if the entire Church were vibrant with the Holy Spirit. Recently a young mother approached me to bless a necklace with a Holy Spirit medal on it. Usually people bring religious articles that are related to the Holy Spirit when some in their family is being confirmed. So I asked her who is it for? Who is receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation? She said it is for her for she needs a little more guidance and courage from the Holy Spirit. Yes! We all need the Holy Spirit and his help and strength.
Without the Holy Spirit we have no life in us. With the Holy Spirit we have the life of Jesus. Without the Holy Spirit, we become closed in; but with the Holy Spirit we reach out in mission to others. Without the Holy Spirit, we return to the Upper Room in fear and anxiety; but with the Holy Spirit we leave the Upper Room and witness Jesus to the ends of the earth. Let us pray today for ourselves and the entire Church that we may all be renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit. And I remind you what Pope Francis said, “The world needs men and women who are not closed in on themselves, but filled with the Holy Spirit. Closing oneself off from the Holy Spirit means not only a lack of freedom; it is a sin. There are many ways one can close oneself off to the Holy Spirit: by selfishness for one’s own gain; by rigid legalism – seen in the attitude of the doctors of the law to whom Jesus referred as “hypocrites”; by neglect of what Jesus taught; by living the Christian life not as service to others, but in the pursuit of personal interests; and in so many other ways. The world needs the courage, hope, faith and perseverance of Christ’s followers. The world needs the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5:22). The gifts of the Holy Spirit have been bestowed upon the Church and upon each one of us, so that we may live lives of genuine faith. Strengthened by the Spirit and his many gifts, may we be able uncompromisingly to battle against sin and corruption, devoting ourselves with patient perseverance to the works of justice and peace.”
Saint Paul says “live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other…” (Gal 5:16-17). Saint Paul teaches us if we are not guided by the Holy Spirit we will be guided by other kinds of spirit. Then the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, and occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like (Gal 5:19-21). How can such people really be happy? What a mess to be in. let us pray: come Holy Spirit and fill our hearts with your gifts, so that we may bear your fruits in our life; fruits of: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and chastity.
God Bless You,