Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter
May 22, 2023
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we begin a week of final and powerful readings which close both the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of John. These readings proclaim the inherent centrality of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church and of every Chrisitan believer.
In Acts, Paul has traveled deeper into the heart of Asia Minor, where he meets “disciples” who have never even heard of the Holy Spirit. They have much to learn about the faith and how it will live in them now, after the conclusion of Christ’s life on earth.
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”Acts 19:2-3
They answered him,
“We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
He said, “How were you baptized?”
They replied, “With the baptism of John.”
The baptism of John was a sacred ritual of the Old Testament which prepared its recipients to open their hearts to a new understanding of God. That new understanding is manifested in the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus. It is then in Jesus’ Name, and in our communion with him, that we are able to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit, just as the disciples did on Pentecost.
So the process looks like this:
|In Scripture:||In our lives:|
|Baptism of John||we desire to believe and deepen our life in God|
|Incarnation of God in Christ||we learn what God is like and how to love God through the life and teachings of Jesus|
|Manifestation of God on Pentecost||we are immersed in the Holy Spirit, God’s life living eternally within us|
In our Gospel today, Jesus continues to lead his disciples to the awareness that he is returning to God and that the Spirit will come. They express their reliance on him, but he tells them that that is not enough. In his physical absence, that reliance will be sorely tested and they will retreat into their own fragile securities.
However, Jesus assures them that his transcendent relationship with the Creator in the Holy Spirit will sustain him. His disciples should find peace in that knowledge and the strength to overcome whatever has weakened and “scattered” them.
(the disciples said)John 16:30-33
“Now we realize that you know everything
and that you do not need to have anyone question you.
Because of this we believe that you came from God.”
Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now?
Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived
when each of you will be scattered to his own home
and you will leave me alone.
But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
I have told you this so that you might have peace in me.
As we read these profound and pivotal passages, we must remember that every word in Scripture also speaks to us. We too are approaching the great epiphany of Pentecost when our hearts are renewed in God’s incandescent Eternal Love. Filled with the peace Jesus offers in our Gospel, let us respond in synchonicity with our Alleluia Verse today:
Poetry: To Live with the Spirit of God – Jessica Powers
To live with the Spirit of God is to be a listener.
It is to keep the vigil of mystery,
earthless and still.
One leans to catch the stirring of the Spirit,
strange as the wind’s will.
The soul that walks where the wind of the Spirit blows
turns like a wandering weather-vane toward love.
It may lament like Job or Jeremiah,
echo the wounded hart, the mateless dove.
It may rejoice in spaciousness of meadow
that emulates the freedom of the sky.
Always it walks in waylessness, unknowing;
it has cast down forever from its hand
the compass of the whither and the why.
To live with the Spirit of God is to be a lover.
It is becoming love, and like to Him
toward Whom we strain with metaphors of creatures:
fire-sweep and water-rush and the wind’s whim.
The soul is all activity, all silence;
and though it surges Godward to its goal,
it holds, as moving earth holds sleeping noonday,
the peace that is the listening of the soul.
Music: Veni Sancte Spiritus – Mozart