Last Sunday, we celebrated the feast of Pentecost which is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, on all the Faithful and on the entire mankind. The event of the Holy Spirit is not just an event of the past. If it is, we simply have something to remember but nothing to celebrate. What we celebrated last Sunday was the advent of the Spirit (which is the very life of God), the Spirit that makes itself manifest to people of every age and time, constantly renewing the surface of the earth and recreating countless souls unto the likeness of God. This is the Spirit that proceeds from the Father through the Son, for which Psalmist of old prayed to God in the following words: “Send forth your Spirit O Lord, and renew the face of the earth” (Psalm 103:30).
One might start to doubt the presence of the Holy Spirit among us because of the evil in our society and the violence that we see in the world around us. The world into which Jesus Christ entered about two thousand years ago was not a better world. It was as a matter of fact, a world sunk in all sorts of crime, and shrouded in the darkness of unbelief. It was into this very world that He sent His Holy Spirit after His few years of life and ministry in Jerusalem to bear witness to His ministry and to pioneer the enormous task of enlightening the dark world. It was this loyal disciples that received the light and power of the Holy Spirit on the fateful day of Pentecost, and so the great enterprise of faith known as evangelization started. The scripture reported the incident as follows: “When the Pentecost day came round, the apostles had all met in one rood, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from Heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech” (Acts 2:1-14).
From one angle it could seem as if a milestone has been reached in what the Holy Spirit has achieved in this enterprise that He embarked upon through the agency of the apostles on the Pentecost day. Many in the course of the centuries have come to believe in the name of Jesus and have achieved salvation through Him. Through the power of the Spirit, peace has been restored in many situations of war and violence, broken relationships have been mended, courses of justice and rights have been pursued and victory have been gained on countless instances. In all this cases, we have to fill with sentiments of gratitude and thanksgiving to Christ, for the Spirit which the Father constantly sends through Him that has been at work. “Working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in them” (1 Corinthian 12:6). From another angle, it could seem as if what the Holy Spirit needs to do in our day and in our world is even more than the great marvels that He has done in the days past.
Many people are still in darkness, their lives are torn by suffering and anxiety, some are victims of violence and unbelief. How could the light and power of the Holy Spirit become a reality in the lives of these people? How could the consolation, the peace and the renewal, which Christ sends His Spirit to bestow in abundance on mankind flow right into their lives? How could the light penetrate into the fortified regions of darkness, how could truth start to make its way into the vast empire of falsehood? In a very difficult and apparently hopeless situation like this, Christ needs nothing to work the miracles of Pentecost, apart from what it took Him to initiate it on the fateful day of the twelve apostles in Jerusalem, He needs a few sincere ones who are equipped with prayer and armed with life of righteousness, dedicated and set aside, open to the Spirit and ready to go anyway that He directs them. The people must also be those who have been schooled on the word of God and have learnt the doctrine of life from Christ who is the way, the truth and the life.
We the Christian people, called by Christ as the apostles of old were called to receive the Holy Spirit and to be agents of the Spirit to our world are such people. It is not possible for us to gather in the name of Christ, ready for the great task ahead without receiving the Holy Spirit as the Apostles received. The Spirit first enables us to forgive and effect reconciliation and as such builds a solid foundation for all that needs to be accomplished. To the Apostles, Christ said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those who sins you retain, they are retained” (John 20:23).