Gospel Reflection for Sunday the 23rd of May 2021
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John 15:26-27, 16:12-15
This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost, that most amazing moment when the powerful grace of the Holy Spirit poured out from heaven over the apostles and Our Lady in Jerusalem. The Spirit came and transformed fearful disciples into brave spirit-filled evangelists who went out into the whole world proclaiming the power of the Good News and the Kingdom of God. Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation on The Joy of the Gospel has called for a new generation of spirit-filled evangelists. A spirit-filled evangelist is what every ordinary Christian should be. How do we become Spirit-filled evangelists? Well by allowing the Spirit to be the advocate in our lives. Jesus calls the Spirit the advocate in the Gospel we hear at Mass this Sunday. By describing the Holy Spirit as the advocate, Jesus is saying the Holy Spirit is no passive force. After all, the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert. The Spirit is powerful and more powerful than we can ever imagine. He is not a tame spirit but a wild devouring fire of love. He is the awesome life-giving power of God. If we invite the Holy Spirit into our lives, the Holy Spirit will be an advocate, that is, he will defend us against Satan, the accuser. The Holy Spirit will defend us against sin and will help us and guide us towards heaven. If we are simply open and willing, we have this amazing force of God’s love to bring us to the heights of holiness.
How do we grow in the power of the Holy Spirit? It begins with saying many times a day…” Come Holy Spirit…” It is also important to be docile to the Holy Spirit, following his promptings by always responding to doing good and to love in all situations. The Spirit highlights to us how we should respond in love in any given situation. The more we respond to what we know we ought to do in love, the more we grow in God’s spirit.
We also keep the flame of the Spirit lit when we develop a deep relationship with Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, who sends with the Father, the Spirit into our lives. We grow in love of Jesus through prayer and the sacraments. Our desire for prayer and sacraments is a grace of the Holy Spirit in itself. Hence, the more we give our freedom to desire Jesus in prayer and in the sacraments, the more the grace of the Spirit comes to lead us to Jesus who introduces us to the Father in our hearts. Prayer is essential. Praying in faith is the ignition for our spiritual lives and our contact with the Lord. Meditating on His word and loving every detail of Jesus’ life will open our hearts to the Spirit who helps us make sense of the scriptures. Frequenting the sacrament of confession will deepen our union with Jesus as he will give us graces to overcome our failings which block the action of the Spirit in our lives. Sitting before Jesus Himself in the Eucharist is the means of prayer par excellence. To simply gaze on him with faith and love, as His face shines on us from the Tabernacle or Monstrance, is a life changing experience always. From the Eucharist, Jesus will increase in us the love of the Holy Spirit. He will shine on us and increase in us the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The more we give ourselves and free time to Jesus, Jesus will give Himself to us and we will grow in His love. This is how we are then able to go out into the whole world bringing the light of Christ and being witnesses of His love in the power of His Spirit.