Birth. Today marks the birth of the Church where the disciples were touched by the Holy Spirit. Birthdays are a time of great joy and celebration, and we too are called to embrace the gifts of the Spirit and to be in touch with living. This allows us to be led, filled and anointed by the Spirit in many ways that only we are aware of.
The gospel begins by saying, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained (John 20:19-23).”
The Upper Room was where it all began and where the disciples were renewed with the Spirit and affirmed of their faith. The disciples were led by Jesus and they remained faithful, though at times, they still had their own fears and doubts. Jesus knew that the disciples were not perfect, but their intentions and heart were in the right place of goodness and good works.
In their most uncertain hour, Jesus came to them to put their restless hearts at peace and to give them the mission of the Church which is to be of service to the rest of the world. Before the disciples set out, Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit, a part of the Trinity , the Third Person, through our baptism and confirmation.
The Holy Spirit does come from God, and all goodness does flow through him, therefore when we discern whether the promptings are from the Spirit, we would know if our intentions and work do not contravene the teachings of the Church. Also, acts of the Holy Spirit will bear us fruits that will last, meaning that the goodness of the Spirit continues and multiplies. It is not a one-off action.
The Holy Spirit has always played a huge role in my life, but at times, it can be difficult to discern between the Spirit’s promptings and those of our own will. In most cases, it is the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. This is where prayer and continuous discernment come into action, where we are called to look and re-look if the Spirit is really calling us into action.
In essence, akin to that of a relationship, we too need to acknowledge the presence of the Spirit and pray to receive His gifts which are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord. Then, we can use these gifts to direct others unto the path of righteousness and courage to fight for what is right for the common benefit towards society.
Next week, I begin a new chapter after university life which is working life filled with new challenges, tasks and expectations. I have to be prepared to face all of them to the best of my ability and trust that Jesus will provide as I surrender everything (pain, imperfections and tiredness) to his will.
May the Spirit continue to guide each of us to continue the discipleship of great service and compassion to mankind in times of uncertainty and trials. We pray that our actions will bear lasting fruits and create greater impacts within the fabric of society. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love! God Bless!
Veni, Sancte Spiritus
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.