Pentecost continues: JOHN 15:26–27; 16:12–15
“. . . the Spirit . . . will lead you to the complete truth.”
Today, the Solemnity of Pentecost, we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, the birthday of the Church; the day when fear was changed to faith and boldness. We are reminded of our own ‘Pentecosts’ —our Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Life in the Spirit, and our life of prayer for divine grace and guidance on our journey of faith.
Quoting 1 Timothy 2:4 and John14:6, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#74) teaches that: “God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth: that is, of Jesus Christ,” who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
The text today states that it is the duty of the Holy Spirit to lead us to Jesus, the complete truth. The same Jesus says that it is good that He ascends, so that the Holy Spirit may assume His duties.
The Holy Spirit works mainly through the Church and the Sacred Liturgies in which we participate. The Gifts of the Spirit, hierarchical and charismatic, are expressions of the call to the faithful to sharing in this ministry of the Spirit. The fundamental call to the Church, by the Spirit, is to union; to a profound relationship with God (Phil 3:10); to sharing in the Trinitarian life of grace and love, to unity among the faithful.
In our Roman Catholic culture, the three major loci of encountering God are (i) the Sacred Scriptures (ii) the Tradition i.e. what the Church teaches and how the Church prays and (iii) the Magisterium, the authority vested in the bishops, as official teachers in the Church. It is thus appropriate that Sacred Scriptures exhort us to “study” (2 Tim 2:15). But it is impossible to overestimate the value of prayer, both personal and communal in our lives.
One of the most salutary practices in the lives of many persons is that of daily reflections on one’s experiences with/of God. The basic question: Where did I encounter God today? This morning; this afternoon; in a person; an event; an object; in a song; in something I overheard or was told; in nature; whatever and wherever.
Observing this practice invites us to live with a greater degree of awareness/anticipation of the presence of God to us. Prayer has been defined as practising the presence of God, and in that sense, this practice greatly supports the call to us to pray continuously.
One of the major roles of the Holy Spirit is the realisation of the gift of unity in the Church. The island community of Tobago has witnessed, over the past two months, an amazing infusion of unity among persons of many different religions, in support of a critically ill young man.
The degree of compassion, generosity and civic mindedness which was witnessed, can only have been the work of the Holy Spirit, as persons from all walks of life united to make financial contributions and to pray in the true spirit of ecumenism.
What truths were we all led to, you may ask? I would venture these: the realisation, that as Lord Nelson sang, “All ah we is one famalay”; that we are our brother’s keeper; that we are called to be children of God, sons and daughters of the same Father, in whose house there are many rooms.
On Friday, April 27, the world witnessed the amazing breaking out of peace between the Koreans. The image of the leaders of the North and the South holding hands like school friends was truly heartwarming. The work of the Spirit continues!
If what occurred can now diffuse throughout the entire national, regional and global community, what a wonderful world this would be! “May they all be one, as You and I are one” (Jn 17:21).
Spirit of truth, come to us, and ‘renew your wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost.’ Amen.
The Gospel Meditations for May are by Rev Kenneth & Bernadette Phillips, catechists of St Joseph’s, Scarborough.