“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created,
and you shall renew the face of the earth.”
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Today’s Feast of Pentecost reminds us to walk with confidence and spurn any fear or anxiety that may interfere with our lives. In this Sunday’s Gospel of John 20:19-23, Jesus visits his disciples who are huddled in fear and tells them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” The peace that God gives does not shield us from the struggles and pain that life can burden us with. Instead, God’s peace permeates our attitudes and behaviors so we deal with the challenges of life with grace and strength. Jesus knew the early Church would have many sufferings and even martyrdoms to experience. The gift of peace that the Holy Spirit would bring would help them remain steadfast in their discipleship.
One of the titles for the Holy Spirit is from the Latin word advocatus, or advocate; Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “one who pleads the cause of another.” It is the same word used for an attorney. Just as a good attorney does all in his or her power to secure the rights and defense of their client, so the Holy Spirit works on our behalf to defend and protect us from evil. The Holy Spirit also graces us with different gifts or charisms. Scripture remind us that some have the gift of prophecy, others teaching, others service, others that of encouraging others. We are called to be open to the gifts that God has given us and not hide them under a bushel basket. The more we share the gifts God has given us, the more we bear fruit that uplifts our community. The Holy Spirit gave the disciples the courage to go forth and proclaim God’s word to the ends of the earth. In today’s world it is not so much that others have not heard about Jesus, rather it is skepticism towards organized religion, the ever draw of materialism and other modern social forces that keep some from experiencing life in the Spirit. May we call upon that fire of the Holy Spirit experienced at Pentecost to indeed enkindle the fire of God’s love in all people.