Receive the Holy Spirit

06-05-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

Before He ascended into heaven, Jesus had directed His Apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit. He assured them that His going to the Father would produce a pleasant consequence as He would send to them the Advocate, who would reveal to them the mysteries of the kingdom, empower them and guide His nascent Church to witness faithfully to the reign of God on earth. This promise was fully fulfilled on Pentecost, fifty days after Easter and ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven. We celebrate this outpouring of the Spirit on the Apostles on Pentecost Sunday this weekend.

The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Most Holy Trinity. He is the life-communicating and soulanimating “breath” of God who proceeds from the love of the Father and the Son. He is what God the Father is, and what God the Son is, yet He is neither God the Father nor God the Son. At creation, the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters to effect order and purpose in creation (Genesis 1:2) and was “breathed” into Adam to animate Him (Genesis 2:7). The Holy Spirit led and guided the redeemed children of Israel on their way to Canaan from Egypt, appearing as a cloud by day and a pillar of light by night (Exodus 13:21). In Canaan, God made a nation out of Israel and governed them, first through Judges and later through Monarchs. Both Judges and Kings, as well as all the true Prophets, were empowered to function through the Holy Spirit. The indispensability of the Sanctifier is glaringly obvious in the story of Saul from whom the Holy Spirit was retrieved after he disobeyed Divine will. As a consequence, he suffered torments from an evil spirit that found space when God’s Spirit departed Saul. David, his successor and a living witness to the travails of Saul, may have been inspired by the dread of Spiritual alienation when he requested God to “cast me not from your presence and do not take your Holy Spirit away from me” (Psalm 51:13).

In the New Testament, the Incarnation happened by the power of the Holy Spirit and at the Baptism of the Lord, the Spirit descended on Christ in the form of a dove. This is the same Spirit Jesus promised His Disciples, the same Spirit he “breathed” on the Apostles after the Resurrection to empower them to forgive sins, the same Spirit they received in the likeness of tongues of fire that took out the barrier of tongues, emboldened them and prompted their actions and confirmed the Word which they preached. The Holy Spirit was the most important singular reason for the faithfulness and success of the witnessing, unity and success of the early Church.

If in our time we desire to be courageous and true witnesses to Christ, both as individuals and as a community of believers, we need to pray with the Church, “Come Holy Spirit and fi ll the hearts of the faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love.”

Please be kind and may God bless you.

Fr. Manasseh