Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; Ps 66:1-7, 16 and 20; 1 Peter 3:15-18; John 14:15-21
The readings this weekend give us a “snapshot” of the early Church development. The apostle Philip went north Samaria bringing good news about Jesus our Savior. When they heard him and saw the healings and deliverances from evil spirits Philip was doing among them, there was great joy in the city. They were baptized in the Name of Jesus. When the leaders in Jerusalem heard this, Peter and John were sent up to lay hands on the people to receive the Holy Spirit.
The second reading from 1 Peter 3,15-18 encourages us to be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asked us the cause of our hope and joy. Most Catholics are shy about sharing their faith publically. We are all commissioned at our baptism to live and share the values of our faith, so others can come to know to love and joy of God’s love in their lives.
The first and second Advocate
God our Father loves us and sent his Son, Jesus, to show us in person how much he and his Father love us. St. John’s gospel teaches us a lot about the members of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The word advocate is a descriptive word for the Holy Spirit. An advocate is one who represents our interests, our defense, the one who goes to bat for us. Jesus was our first defender, advocate. He and the Father sent us their Holy Spirit as our second advocate.
At our baptism with the imposition of the hands of the priest, the pouring of water and the oil anointing, the whole Trinity came to live inside of us. Obviously in a quiet and little way. Not like their power to created and run the entire universe. They are one God yet in three distinct persons.
In the weeks before Pentecost we read from St. John 14 to 18 additional things that Jesus told his followers during the Last Supper. Jesus said that he had to go back to heaven where he and his Father would send down upon his followers the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells them the major works the Holy Spirit will do in guiding believers to Jesus and his Father.
Five major works of the Holy Spirit
Next week we shall share about the importance of Jesus’ return to heaven and then on Pentecost, we shall share about the power of the Pentecost Sequence. Here you can see the five major works of the Holy Spirit that Jesus taught us. Please, take some time to reflect about the. The Holy Spirit will turn the lights of your understanding on so you have the joy of knowing his truth. Enjoy!
1st — John 14:16-17 “I / will ask the Father
and he / will give / you / another / Paraclete,(The first one was Jesus)
to be with / you / always: The SPIRIT OF TRUTH,
whom the world cannot accept, since it neither sees him nor recognizes him;
but you can recognize him because he / remains / with you and will be within / you.”
The Paraclete is like a public defender, helping us before the judgment of God for our sins. Jesus was the first Paraclete and the Holy Spirit is the second.
2nd — John 14:26 “This much have I told you while I was still with you;
The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit whom the Father / will send / in my Name, will
INSTRUCT you / in everything, and
REMIND you of all / that I / told / you.
`Peace’ is my farewell to you, my peace is my gift / to you.”
3rd — John 15:26 “When the Paraclete comes, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH
who comes / from the Father — and whom I myself / will send / from the Father –
he will bear WITNESS on my behalf.
You must bear witness as well,….”
To bear witness is to understand why God made the universe, me and my mission here on earth. It means to know where he wants me to spend eternity, with him in glory. As we come to know God and the truth of God’s plan, we are instructed to tell others, to witness this truth to many other people in the world so they can get to heaven through Jesus Christ.
4th — John 16:7-8 “Yet I tell you the sober truth:
It is much better for you that I go.
If I fail to go, the PARACLETE will never come to you, whereas if I go, I will send him to you.
When he comes, he (Holy Spirit) will prove / the world wrong /
about sin, about justice, about condemnation.”
This is also our mission. By the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we learn how to help others find God’s truth.
5th — John 16:13 “When he comes, however, being the SPIRIT OF TRUTH,
He will GUIDE you to all truth. (see John 8:31-32)
He will not speak on his own, but will speak only what he hears,
and will ANNOUNCE / to you / the things / to come (the future).
14: In doing this he will give glory to me, because
he will have received / from me / what he will announce / to you.“
As we follow God’s plan, he will continue to guide us and lead us safely into the future and ultimately into heaven.
Before Jesus went back to heaven, at his Ascension, he said this to his followers.
“Wait for the fulfillment of my Father’s promise, of which you have heard me speak. John baptized with water, but within a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit,” Acts 1:4b-5. And in verse 8 he said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes down on you; then you are to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, yes, even to the ends of the earth.”
This coming Friday, the Church begins a Solemn Novena in preparation for Pentecost Sunday. Over the years I put together 9 Days of short teachings on the Holy Spirit. If you would like a copy in rtf format, email me at fbhilz@gmail. com. So let us often reflect on these major works of the Holy Spirit and say our “yes” to his guidance.
Have a Spirit-filled week. Blessings,
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2018 Fr, Bob Hilz, TOR)