We live in bizarre times: pandemics, school shootings, division in our country, division in our Church, division in our own lives, and people who are Christian but don’t act like it! It seems we need God more than ever before. But don’t we have him already? Isn’t that what we celebrate on Pentecost? At the Last Supper, our Lord told his Apostles “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth…” (Jn 14:16-17). He even said, “But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (Jn 16:7). Jesus did exactly as he promised. The Holy Spirit has been present to the Apostles and the entire Church throughout the centuries. The Holy Spirit has been a leader, a guide, and a source of comfort and consolation since the beginning of the Church, so… why do we feel so unsettled?
Our Lord made these statements because he knew he was leaving, and he knew the horrible challenges that lay ahead. His impending departure was extremely troubling to his friends. They did not know what was about to happen, and they did not understand many of the things Jesus was saying. They were feeling confused and desolate.
Like the Apostles 2000 years ago, we too do not know what is going to happen, and we often do not understand many of the things Jesus was saying. Many of us are feeling confused and desolate.
Jesus was and is aware. Therefore, he instituted the Eucharist, whereby he would always be present to them, and to us! As Catholics, we recognize the Eucharist as our “source and summit.” When we are fully open and participate in the Mass, we get a clearer understanding of our mission. What is our mission? The Holy Spirit’s presence in and among the first disciples would make it possible for them to live for Jesus, just as he is asking us to do. Living for Jesus means more than a simple calling him to mind; it is to actually live Christ’s life within the sphere of our own existence. As St. Paul put it, “For to me life is Christ, and death is gain” (Phil 1:21). It is the Holy Spirit that enables us to die to ourselves and our own wants: to live lives of dynamic mercy, peace, tenderness, and generosity . That sentence was true for Paul and it can be for all of us.
In his pastoral letter ‘Unleash the Gospel’, Archbishop Vigneron said: “Jesus Christ makes all things new! He himself is at work to renew his Church in the Archdiocese of Detroit. He is pouring out his Holy Spirit anew so that every member of the Church may be formed and sent forth as a joyful missionary disciple, so that the Gospel may be unleashed in southeast Michigan.” Let us be conscious of this. Our mission is to reveal Jesus and to make the image of Jesus fully alive in each person.
There are many ways that the Holy Spirit can help us understand our mission. Firstly, we must go to him in prayer. Do we do all the talking during prayer time? Starting today, let’s try harder to be quiet enough to listen to the Holy Spirit’s loving instructions. Second, let’s go to Scripture, treating it like the priceless treasure it is. Intimidated? Join one of the many Bible studies within our Family of Parishes. I always walk away much clearer and happier, yes happier, after my Bible study. Finally, join a ministry, get involved, and talk to others! Because The Holy Spirit isn’t only speaking to you and me; He’s speaking to all of God’s people.
Don’t wait, do it now. Invite the Holy Spirit to play a real, dynamic role in your life starting today.
Fr. J.J. Mech