This week, I took 3 days off to Malaysia for a short personal retreat, away from fast-paced Singapore to find time away before I go back to school. It was 3 days of rest, reflection and time taken to find myself again to go forward into the new semester with confidence and determination. I had the opportunity to attend mass at the Church of the Holy Spirit which was celebrated by his grace, archbishop William Goh. This special mass was to commemorate the birthday of the church due to Pentecost Sunday being a reminder to always know that the Holy Spirit is present to guide us.
Today’s gospel speaks about the power of the Holy Spirit and calls us to use this spirit to evangelize in testifying the good news to others. This is important to spark a renewal in the Catholic church and to be missionary disciples of the church. The gospel says,” When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning”(John 15:26-27).
Evangelisation does not mean trying to convert someone immediately and forcing religion unto others. It means allowing the Holy Spirit to work within us in making someone receptive to the faith through consistent communication and sharing. It is to show a person the connection of the Catholic faith through the stage of life that they are at through showing the presence of Jesus in their lives. By being open to the Holy Spirit,we are able to work through others and to build the community as well.
We are all living in a very social world so that our friends are very important to us and formation in the community has been pushed aside. Having formal formation such as small sharing groups are essential to help people encounter Jesus on a more personal level. I feel that people are more interested in social formation which is fellowship of the stomach of good food and Jesus is being forgotten. This is the reason why people just come and go home empty-handed; there is no sustenance in the form of spiritual food of praying together or sharing the word of God together.
Also,there are various form of temptations that prevent us from experiencing the true spirit such as immorality,impurity,lust,idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealously, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts which are all heavy sins and we find it hard not to succumb to them because we are weak and there is nothing holding us back. This is the reason why formation is important to arm us with the determination to move towards the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
The fruits of the Holy Spirit are far more rewarding and they are the active ingredients that need to be present in communities. The fruits consists of:
By practicing the fruits of the spirit,we will notice that the community is more receptive and can grow together in the faith and take away so much more, the promise that everyone is entitled to these fruits.
We are called as disciples of Christ to be more than ordinary but also missionary, which means to have a goal in mind and work towards that goal. It may sound impossible to reach the goal of a faith renewal in the Catholic Church but it is not if we continue to live in the spirit, follow the spirit and share the spirit with people in and outside church.
Our purpose as missionary disciples is to proclaim the good news and rid communities of temptations that are not of the spirit by sorting out such differences as Catholics. In all honesty, I did not join any church ministries for fear of politics as I have heard stories and I find the ministries very closed up. Also, I have seen people who are in ministries but they are not good living examples to others which is very sad. They do not practice what is being preached in church in their daily lives and I find it disturbing.
We continue to pray for one another that the Holy Spirit will renew the church together with our interest in doing so as missionary disciples. The outpouring of the spirit on Pentecost means so much to the church that we will be united and help each other experience Jesus in any way possible.
This form of new life is necessary for the revival of communities and for more religious vocations as well. Though the road from here is a long journey, having formation is the first step in encountering Jesus and experiencing the fruits of the Holy Spirit too. God Bless!
“Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord, my God, you are great indeed!
How manifold are your works, O Lord!
the earth is full of your creatures;
Lord, send forth your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.”
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong