May 25, 2014
EASTER VI (A)
You know him because he remains with you and will be with you. – John 14: 17
Here is a line from an old “spiritual”: “Sometimes I feel discouraged, & think my work in vain. But then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.”
There are times when we need to be revived, restored, renewed & recreated. Early Christians tell us it is the Holy Spirit who can do this. But that only leaves us wondering “What is this gift? Who is the Holy Spirit? What can He do for me?”
Look at the baptism of Jesus (when He received the Holy Spirit): it came to Him so gently & peaceably that from that moment, the symbol used to describe His coming was a dove – one of the gentlest of birds. The disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit until after the resurrection, but on the last night of His life in the upper room He made them a promise: “I will ask the Father & He will give you another Advocate to be with you always” (John 14: 16). He assures them that their belief in this promise will enable them to perform wonders.
Later, the risen Jesus keeps His promise by appearing to the disciples & breathing on them. Again, as far as we know, it was a gentle, peaceful experience. It was not until later, on the day of Pentecost, that the Holy Spirit made Himself known in a dramatic fashion.
But who is this Holy Spirit? God loves us so much & wants us to love Him that He literally pours out His presence for us to experience. It is the gift of His Spirit that makes it possible to experience the joy of being immersed in God, of beingTemples of God’s love.
In our time, Mother Teresa of Calcutta inspired the world through her life of loving service to outcasts. She says:
“God’s spirit is in my heart. He has called me & set me apart. This is what I have to do. He’s sent me to give the good news to the poor; tell prisoners that they are prisoners no more; tell blind people that they can see; & set the downtrodden free. And go tell everyone that the news of the Kingdom of God has come. Just as the Father sent me, so I’m sending you out to be my witnesses throughout the world, the whole of the world. Don’t worry about what you have to say. Don’t worry because on that day, God’s spirit will speak in your heart.”
Until God’s Spirit speaks in our heart, we cannot experience wholeness of life, nor sense the true purpose of our lives. Until God’s Spirit speaks in our hearts, true joy will elude us.
From the literature of the Holocaust comes these haunting lines written by a young girl in a concentration camp:
“From tomorrow on I shall be sad. From tomorrow on, not today. Today I will be glad, & everyday no matter how bitter it may be I shall say: From tomorrow on I shall be sad, not today.”
Until God’s Spirit speaks in our hearts, our lives will drone on, as if to say, “Tomorrow we shall be happy, not today.” God’s Holy Spirit is speaking to our hearts at this very moment. Let us listen carefully, so that we can be happy today! AMEN