Acts 2:1-11; 1Cor 12:3-7,12-13; John 20:19-23
A young boy went to market on his bicycle in order to buy something. But there was simply no place to park in his bicycle. So he went to a nearby church and made a request to the parish priest. The priest granted it without any hesitation.
“Is it safe here, Father?” the boy asked the priest and concerned that someone might steal his bicycle.
“Of course,” said the priest. “The Holy Spirit will keep watch over your bike. But first, let’s go inside the church and pray.”
They kneel down and making the sign of the cross, the boy said: “In the name of the Father and of the Son. Amen.”
The priest interrupted him. “You forgot the last part, ‘and of the Holy Spirit’ son?”
The boy replied: “We should not disturb the Holy Spirit. He is watching over my bike!”
The Holy Spirit does not keep watch solely over bicycles. Rather, He keeps watch over everything and everyone especially over the disciples (including ourselves) whom Jesus leaves behind as He returns to the Father. At the Last Supper, Jesus tells them that He will send a gift from the Father, the greatest of all gifts and that is the Holy Spirit.
The Bible tells us that fifty days after exodus, Moses received the Ten Commandments from Yahweh at Mt. Sinai. Yahweh presented these to His people and the people pledged faithfulness to all that Yahweh expected of them. We Christians, celebrate Pentecost fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus. It is the Feast of the Holy Spirit and the Birth of the Church for Jesus sent His Spirit over the disciples to empower to live by His word. That is why today we are celebrating the Solemnity of Pentecost or the giving and coming of the Holy Spirit as a gift from the Risen Lord. Pentecost means in Greek as 50th day that is, the 50th day after Easter or the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Actually, the Holy Spirit was already given to the disciples when Jesus appeared to them after the resurrection. He breathed on them the Holy Spirit by saying: “Received the Holy Spirit… do not be afraid.” But still, they remained sad and afraid that what happened to Jesus Christ might also happen to them. It was only after 50 days that the apostles finally realized that the Holy Spirit did, indeed, descend upon them and they became courageous.
We too received the Holy Spirit during our Baptism and Confirmation. But why does he not change our lives as He changed that of the apostles? Why do we behave in many ways like pagans as if we have never received the Holy Spirit? I guess because the Holy Spirit inspires us to do good things but in the long run it’s up to us to accept, ignore and reject His promptings.
Who is the Holy Spirit? We know that the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is the Love of the Father and the Son, present within God the Father and God the Son from all eternity. When we want to describe Him, however, we meet difficulties for we cannot see Him. The original word in Greek can express the idea of breath, wind or spirit. Before the world was created, a strong wind blew over the water. There was no life yet on earth; nevertheless the earth was covered by God’s presence. Even though we do not see the Holy Spirit, we are aware that He is at work in our lives. We cannot see the wind and do not know where it comes from or where it is going but we see its effects: the leaves of the tree rustle in the breeze, trees are toppled by its fury, the wind gives speed to a sailboat and produces sound when blown into a musical instrument.
Year 1998, the second year of the preparatory phase for the Great Jubilee 2000, was dedicated in a particular way to the Holy Spirit and to His sanctifying presence in the community of Christ’s disciples. The over-all goal as point out in Tertio Millennio Adveniente (TMA) of Pope John Paul II is a renewed appreciation of the presence and activity of the Spirit who acts within the church both in the sacraments and various charisms, roles and ministries which He inspires for the good of God’s people.
I had a personal experience with the Holy Spirit. I was introduced to the Holy Spirit when my parents taught me how to make the sign of the cross: “In the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” They got angry with me when I used my left hand (I am a left-handed person) because it is improper and unusual. But it can be. I can use my left hand to make the sign of the cross. There is nothing bad about it. So at the early age of my life, I was already introduced to the Persons of the Blessed Trinity especially the Holy Spirit. As I grew up I forgot the Holy Spirit and I always remember the Father and the Son. Yet the Holy Spirit has a big role in my life.
It is because he is the One who leads me as a sinner to repentance in order to be in communion with those who have been forgiven. He is the One who enlightens me in order to bear witness to the truth of the Gospel; He is the One who turns the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. He is my conscience and many more.
Even in my prayers, I seldom asked the guidance of the Holy Spirit and even with you, I think. You also do what I have done – forgetting the Holy Spirit. But now I try myself that during my prayer I always see to it that I should not forget to pray to the Holy Spirit.
To tell you frankly, when I give Talk 1 in Parish Renewal Experience Seminar (PREX Seminar), I’m really inspired. This may be because we started the talk with the singing of ‘Come Holy Spirit.’ The Holy Spirit is our only Guide besides others which are inspired by Him to guide too and no more. That is why Christ gave Him to us as a gift because he knew that the Holy Spirit would not fail Him. He will not teach another new teaching but of Christ’s.
To end this, join me in praying this Prayer to the Holy Spirit: “Come, Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth.”
See Today’s Readings: Cycle C