Posted on May 26, 2023 View all Gospel Reflection
The Holy Spirit has a way of turning things upside down. Like in the Acts of the Apostles in our First Reading, the devout Jews from every nation “were confused …astounded, and in amazement as the lives of the disciples got turned upside down – and by extension, how the world turned upside down by this new, Spirit-filled faith.
Although Jesus is our advocate in heaven, he promises another Advocate, the Holy Spirt; that is Who we get.
To illustrate, Jesus appeared in heaven just after his ascension and is giving a progress report on all that has happened while he was on earth. Moses is there and he asks him, “Well Jesus, did you leave things in capable hands?” Jesus responds, “I did. I have left behind Mary and Martha and Peter and the other disciples.”
Moses said, “What if they fail?”
Jesus said, “Well, I have established the Church and filled it with the Holy Spirit and they will carry on.” And Moses said, “What if they fail?” Came the reply, “I have no other plan.”1
The Holy Spirit can’t be housebroken, or tamed by us, because the Spirit is sovereign, but He will not inspire laziness.
E.g. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, as an educator and foundress, always emphasized preparing your material before you preach or teach. There is a type of speaker who begins public speaking with, “As I was driving down the road today, I was wondering what I would speak to you about.”
Yet, we can’t have an over-dependence on logic and reason alone.
In Acts 22:3, St. Paul says that he was educated by Gamaliel, one of the premier teachers of the Law, but Paul actually put more emphasis on the subjective realm of the Holy Spirit in his life than on scholarship. In 1 Cor. 2:4, he says “…my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words…but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
One way to receive the power of the Holy Spirit is to pray to the Holy Spirit using open-ended questions that don’t use yes or no.
E.g. Patty Gallagher Mansfield was a participant in the February 1967 “Duquesne Weekend which marked the beginning of the Charismatic Renewal as movement in the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI had her serve on a Vatican council on the laity. In 1967, she prayed this prayer, “Father, I give my life to You. Whatever you ask of me, I accept. Just teach me to follow Jesus and to love as He loves.” The fire quickly spread, even to other Christian denominations.
As someone has said: “God doesn’t ask if we’re able. God asks if we’re available.” What new lay ministries is God calling you to?
When we feel overwhelmed by the circumstances of life, we ask the Holy Spirit to show us what He’s doing. He will not allow us to be defeated by our enemies or our own wayward human impulses.
Pentecost, from the Greek meaning “fiftieth day” after the Passover, has always been about the joy of the harvest that then began to be the joy of the Holy Spirit.
In our Gospel, in John 20:22, Jesus breathed on the disciples and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Imagine the breath of Jesus filling and blessing your life with the Holy Spirit. A pleasant thought indeed.
According to Olivia Fox Cabane, author of The Charisma Myth, there are three components to charisma: Presence, Power, and Warmth.
Power, according to Cabane, simply “means being perceived as able to affect the world around us…”
We can add: by the Holy Spirit.