On Sunday, we joyously commemorate the sacred occasion of Pentecost.
During this momentous event, we honor the glorious descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles who had congregated in the upper room in Jerusalem, their hearts filled with trepidation.
This extraordinary occurrence signifies the inception of the Church, ushering in a new era of spiritual enlightenment and divine guidance.
The Scripture says that 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.”
This concise passage concludes with a profound blessing bestowed upon us by Jesus during His final days on Earth: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
One of the greatest blessings bestowed upon us by God is the Holy Spirit, a gift that empowers us to live a virtuous life through its presence.
Understanding the Holy Spirit can be challenging at times, but it serves as the bridge that keeps us connected to God.
It is our responsibility to nurture this connection on a daily basis.
If you ever feel distant from God or disconnected from your faith, the first step is to rekindle your relationship with the Holy Spirit within you.
I have had challenging moments these last few weeks, experiencing betrayal and being used, manipulated, and abandoned.
I could feel the anger and hatred take over me.
But thankfully the Holy Spirit made me see how much of the mess I am in is because of me — my hubris, my feeling entitled, my selfishness.
It is as if a Legion of demons took over my mind and heart, made vulnerable by my fear of death.
As in the gospel story, it took the intervention of Jesus to expel Legion.
But first, the light of the Spirit showed me the way – to repent and ask for forgiveness especially for what I said and did for someone I considered a best friend.
It is vital to remember this.
Through the sacrament of penance, the Holy Spirit works to forgive our sins.
We firmly believe that mercy brings hope and transformation to our souls.
Christ assures us that His power will always be with us, so there is no reason to lose hope after encountering setbacks in life.
Instead, the Holy Spirit’s purpose is to lead us from mercy to a deeper likeness to Christ, enabling us to spiritually bear and reveal His wounds to a world lacking faith.
Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus continually strengthens our faith, empowers us to bear witness, and enables us to proclaim the profound message of the gospel.
The Holy Spirit plays a pivotal role in the lives of believers, serving as the conduit through which Jesus continually strengthens our faith, empowers us to bear witness, and enables us to proclaim the profound message of the gospel.
First and foremost, the Holy Spirit strengthens our faith by providing guidance and comfort, establishing a profound connection with God.
Through the Spirit’s presence, we gain a deeper understanding of Scripture, acquire insight, and develop a steadfast belief in the teachings of Jesus.
This strengthening of faith grants us the courage and resilience needed to navigate life’s challenges and uncertainties.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit empowers us to bear witness to the transformative power of Christ in our own lives.
By yielding to the Spirit’s guidance, we receive spiritual gifts such as wisdom, discernment, and boldness, enabling us to effectively share our personal testimonies and experiences with others.
The Spirit equips us to demonstrate the love, grace, and compassion exemplified by Jesus, becoming living illustrations of the gospel message.
Lastly, the Holy Spirit enables us to proclaim the profound message of the gospel to the world.
Through the Spirit’s inspiration and guidance, we are emboldened to share the good news of salvation, forgiveness, and reconciliation found in Jesus Christ.
The presence of the Spirit empowers our words and actions, making them impactful and transformative.
It is through the Holy Spirit that hearts are convicted, people are drawn to God, and spiritual awakening and conversion are brought forth.
To cultivate our connection with the Holy Spirit, we must be willing to forgive.
After Jesus bestowed the gift of the Holy Spirit upon us, He emphasized that we have the power to forgive those who wrong us.
If we genuinely aspire to live a virtuous life, we must learn to forgive others and strive for harmonious living.
Undoubtedly, these actions are easier said than done.
Nevertheless, we are urged to ignite a heart filled with gratitude and forgiveness and to uphold this disposition as a disciplined practice.
I commit to doing the same.
May the light of the Spirit be upon us all so we can learn to forgive.
As my favorite Ben and Ben song goes, you never really love someone until you learn to forgive.
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