for Sunday, May 24, 2015
The Spirit of God is upon us! Yet so often we feel and sense nothing. At other times we do feel perhaps a touch of the Spirit and a sense that truly the Spirit is our comforter. Some are involved in the Charismatic Movement in which there can be an enormous sense of the presence of the Spirit. We know that in the early Church, this sense of the Spirit was deep and profound - and expressed in so many ways. The most obvious ways, of course, were in tongues and in healing. Yet we must always be aware that Saint Paul teaches us that there are many, many gifts of the Spirit and these gifts are given in various ways. We must accept the gifts given to us and allow the Spirit to act as the Spirit acts: always creatively.
The first reading today, from the Acts of the Apostles, speaks about the gift of tongues but also about a gift of understanding. It was clear in the early Church that sometimes people had a gift of speaking in a language that no one could understand. Then that person was asked to be silent because the gift was not for the community. Others had a gift of tongues which the rest could understand. Sometimes it seems there was a gift of one person to understand the language of another person. So we have both speaking and understanding as gifts.
Speaking and understanding what? The mighty gifts of God! This is not speaking and understanding the gossip of the day, what is going on around us, how to do things! No, this is speaking and understanding how God is at work here and now in our lives.
There are two possibilities for a second reading today. The Letter to the Galatians, tells us some of the works of the flesh but also some of the works of the Spirit. Saint Paul wants us to understand clearly how to identify if we or others are acting in the Spirit of God. We do that by seeing if the fruits of the Spirit are present: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
It is, in many ways, a very easy task to evaluate if we or others are living in the Spirit of Jesus Christ because we know these fruits of the Spirit. Living in Christ is not about power over others, not about being acknowledged by others, not about status or about glory. Living in Christ is the hard and arduous task of serving others, almost as a slave of others, for the love of Jesus Christ.
The other option for the second reading is from the First Letter to the Corinthians and tells us that we can only say that Jesus is Lord if we are guided by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit will manifest itself in many ways and so once again we see that there is an enormous variety in the ways to live our Christian life.
The Gospel also has two options today and both of them add a note to our reflections: the Spirit will always cause us to acknowledge Jesus as Lord. To live in all truth is to live in Jesus. To seek truth is to seek Jesus. Thus the Spirit will help us understand the words Jesus has left us in Holy Scripture and will not begin to preach novelties or teachings which contradict what has been handed down to us from Jesus.
The Gospel of John is very clear that the manifestation of true love is always in pardon of the sins of others.
Come, Holy Spirit! Draw us into this mystery! Come, Holy Spirit! Form us in Christ the Lord and lift us up to eternal life.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Acts 2.1-11
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12.3b-7, 12-13
Gospel: John 20.19-23
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: