for Sunday, May 20, 2018
The Holy Spirit! So often we have very little understanding of the Holy Spirit in our lives, even though that Spirit is always with us and always seeking to draw us into the love of God! We need to ask that Spirit to be present right now: Come, Holy Spirit!
The first reading today is from the Acts of the Apostles and describes upon them. Many of us have never had an experience such as we find in this account. On the other hand, many of us have had experiences that are different from this but also are experiences of the Spirit. Many of us have felt truly moved by some religious experience. Perhaps we have been walking near a Church and have felt some tug in the heart to enter and say prayers. Perhaps we have heard some terrible news and our hearts have turned to the Lord. Possibly someone has asked us about our faith and in trying to describe our faith we have felt something new.
There are so many ways in which the Spirit is present in our lives. Perhaps we have found ourselves in a really difficult situation and have asked the Lord for help - and it all turned out well for us. Or maybe we were in a situation of danger and asked the Lord’s protection, and we emerged safely.
The challenge is to reconcile these experiences with the other experiences that we have when we seem far from God, when we ask help from God and nothing good seems to happen. We humans often want an all-powerful God who will always do what we ask of Him! God is not that way. Nevertheless we need to take time to meditate on the positive experiences that we have been given.
Today we have two options for the second reading. In the option which is from the First Letter to the Corinthians, we find Saint Paul teaching us about the role of the Holy Spirit. No one can truly proclaim that Jesus is Lord except with the power of the Holy Spirit. All of us today should say and proclaim: "Jesus is Lord." This is a simple test of the Spirit’s presence. We have to say that Jesus is Lord with conviction, however, and not just with words. It is the Spirit that gives all the gifts in the Church because we are all one body in Jesus Christ, in His Church.
The second option for the second reading is from the Letter to the Galatians. In this section of the Letter to the Galatians, Saint Paul contrasts the values of a life in the Spirit and those of a life without the Spirit. It is a sobering comparison, especially in our day when so many choose to live with the values which indicate a life without the Spirit.
This is the comparison that Saint Paul gives to us: "immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law."
There are two options for the Gospel today as well. The first is from the Gospel of Saint John, Chapter 20. Here Saint John records the appearance of Jesus to His disciples after His Resurrection. Jesus gives them the Holy Spirit and this gift of the Holy Spirit is completely related to the forgiveness of sin. We should realize that when we really love another and when we forgive another, we are sharing in the Holy Spirit.
The second option for the Gospel is from the 15th Chapter of the Gospel of Saint John and teaches us that the Spirit will guide us in truth. If we choose to ask the Holy Spirit, even now, that Spirit will show us the way of Jesus our Lord.
May this Holy Spirit come upon us today, guiding us in love, truth and forgiveness. May this Holy Spirit give us unity in the Church and faithfulness in preaching the Gospel. May this Holy Spirit guide us in the path of right living and away from the values of this world. Amen.
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: