Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on May 19, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

John 20:19-23

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.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit as our Advocate whom Jesus promised. Jesus has left us with an Advocate who is good, loving, powerful, and loyal on the one hand, but wild, dangerous, unpredictable, fierce, demanding, and unyielding on the other. Because the Spirit loves us (indeed, is the very love of God for us), the Spirit comes to shatter our idols and asks from us the gift of nothing less than our total selves.

Each year, Pentecost invites us to wonder at the Spirit’s outpouring on the Blessed Mother and the apostles. The feast remind us that the Spirit comes to give us peace and strength, light and joy, wisdom and discernment. The Holy Spirit, in other words, comes to make us like Jesus.

But there is more to Jesus than his peace, strength, light, joy, wisdom, and discernment. There is also his suffering. The Spirit comes to annihilate all the evil spirits that afflict us, and the cost to us may not be a small one. If the Spirit molds us into Jesus, the Spirit must lead us in one way or the other to the cross.

The cross may be personally destructive. It may humiliate us and prove scandalous to those who see what happens to us. The Spirit vanquishes evil, but the only truly efficacious banishment of evil we have as an exemplar is the example of our crucified Lord. To follow Jesus may require us to go to the very depths of hell to battle the demons that afflict us and our worlds.

Pentecost reminds us that the Spirit comes to speak to us truths we may not want to know and invite us to walk along paths we may not wish to walk. In our most conscious and attentive moments, perhaps we ought to be afraid to ask for the Holy Spirit because the redemption we receive may not be the redemption we want. The Spirit may ask of us to live the scandal of the cross in a way neither we nor those around us may understand. Yet, as Christians, we ultimately share the hope of the resurrection, and whatever abyss the Spirit may invite us to traverse, we also know that God in the end shall right all things and that all shall be well.

Spiritual reading: Prayer, fasting, vigil and all other Christian activities, however good they may be in themselves, do not constitute the aim of our Christian life, although they serve as the indispensable means of reaching this end. The true aim of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God. As for fasts, and vigils, and prayer, and almsgiving, and every good deed done for Christ’s sake, they are only means of acquiring the Holy Spirit of God. (Saint Seraphim of Sarov)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: