THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent, March 17th, 2015
St. Patrick’s Day
Liturgical texts here
THE Holy Spirit.
Have you met this Person yet? There is the Father and the Son, yes, and it is easy for us to imagine them because of Christ’s face and the image of fatherhood. But the Holy Spirit… what, a bird? No, the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, and the one who, when He comes, makes all the difference in the world.
The Spirit is not a “cosmic energy” or force, but a real divine person, someone who rejoices with us, cf. I Thess 1:6 grieves with us, cf. Eph 4:30 teaches us, cf. John 16:13 helps us in our weakness, cf. Rom 8:26 and fills us with the very love of God. cf. Rom 5:5 When He comes, the Spirit can set the whole course of your life on fire.
…he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Luke 3:16)
The pools of Bethesda in today’s Gospel were believed to have healing properties. And yet, “one man there who had been ill for thirty-eight years” remained so because he had not yet entered the waters. He said,
I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up…
It so happens that many of us are cradle Catholics; we attend parochial schools, Sunday Mass, receive the Sacraments, join the Knights of Columbus, CWL, etc. …and yet, there is something in us that remains dormant. Our spirit remain listless, disconnected from our daily lives. And that is because, like the pools of Bethsaida, we have not yet been “stirred up” by the Holy Spirit. St. Paul even says to Timothy:
I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands… (1 Tim 1:6)
What does this mean? Can we not say that many Catholics are much like the Apostles? These twelve men stayed with Jesus for three years, and yet often lacked wisdom, zeal, courage, and a thirst for the things of God. That all changed with Pentecost. The whole course of their lives was set on fire.
I have witnessed this in my own life now for four decades—priests, nuns, and laymen alike who suddenly felt an incredible zeal for God, a hunger for the Scriptures, a new impulse for ministry, prayer, and the things of God after being filled with the Holy Spirit. There is a mistaken notion in the Church that after Baptism and Confirmation, we do not need to be “filled with the Holy Spirit.” However, we see in Scripture the contrary: after Pentecost, the Apostles were gathered together on another occasion, and the Spirit fell upon them again like a “new Pentecost”. See Acts 4:31 and the series Charismatic? Suddenly, they became like those trees in the first reading as they were uprooted from worldliness and replanted by the flowing “river” of the Spirit.
This stifling worldliness can only be healed by breathing in the pure air of the Holy Spirit who frees us from self-centredness cloaked in an outward religiosity bereft of God. —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 97
Their ministry and vocations began to bear supernatural “fruit” and “medicine” that became spiritual food and grace for the Church and the world.
If I could, my dear brothers and sisters, I would enter into every one of your living rooms to form again an “upper room” with you, to speak with you about the gifts and charisms of the Spirit so sadly neglected by some in the presbyterate, and to pray with you for the Holy Spirit to be stirred into a living flame in your heart. Just as Jesus had more to offer the poor lame man than lowering him into the pools, so too, Christ has so much more than many of us have come to realize in our Catholic faith.
We must not forget that the sap that brings life and transforms hearts is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. —POPE FRANCIS, Meeting with lay association Seguimi, March 16th, 2015; Zenit
But there is someone far better that I recommend in my place: the spouse of the Holy Spirit, Mary. She was there in the first cenacle of the Church, and wishes to be with her children again for this very reason—to invoke a new Pentecost upon the Church. Join her hand then, and ask her to pray that the Holy Spirit may fall anew upon you and your family, to awaken latent gifts, to melt away apathy, to create a new hunger, to stir into a flame a love a passion for Jesus Christ and for souls. Pray, and then wait for the Gift that will surely come.
I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high… If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him (Luke 24:49; 11:11)
I have written a seven part series carefully explaining how the Holy Spirit and the charisms are not the sole domain of the “Charismatic Renewal”, but the heritage of the entire Church… and how it is all a preparation for the new era of peace that is coming. cf. Charistmatic – Part VI
You can read the series here: Charismatic?
Be open to Christ, welcome the Spirit, so that a new Pentecost may take place in every community! A new humanity, a joyful one, will arise from your midst; you will experience again the saving power of the Lord. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, “Address to Bishops of Latin America,” L’Osservatore Romano (English language edition), October 21, 1992, p.10, sec.30.
A little song I wrote to help you pray for the Holy Spirit to come…
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|↑1||cf. I Thess 1:6|
|↑2||cf. Eph 4:30|
|↑3||cf. John 16:13|
|↑4||cf. Rom 8:26|
|↑5||cf. Rom 5:5|
|↑6||There is a mistaken notion in the Church that after Baptism and Confirmation, we do not need to be “filled with the Holy Spirit.” However, we see in Scripture the contrary: after Pentecost, the Apostles were gathered together on another occasion, and the Spirit fell upon them again like a “new Pentecost”. See Acts 4:31 and the series Charismatic?|
|↑7||cf. Charistmatic – Part VI|