MASS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Feast of the Pentecost
It was truly a wonderful experience coming back to my Alma Mater and much more a great honor to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the very time of Pentecost Sunday. Here's my edited version of my previous post "The Promise of an Advocate."
Memory. I do believe that memory, is one of the most important gifts God has given to man aside from intelligence and the gift of choice. It is such an important ability that even St. Augustine would consider it as a faculty of man aside from the intellect and will. Last Sunday, Jesus prayed for His disciples that they may be protected and that they may become ONE. This Sunday we call Pentecost Sunday, Jesus leaves behind a living memory, in the Person of the Holy Spirit—the Holy Spirit, who will be with them and among them:
1. Who is the Holy Spirit? In the Bible, the Holy Spirit could be understood as “Comforter,” “Intercessor,” “Helper,” or “Mediator.” From these senses, we can clearly understand that the “Advocate” is more like Christ Himself. Someone who will support them, stand up for them, and stand by their side to help them. However, like the Good Shepherd, Jesus was not sending a “substitute” as no one can take His place. The Holy Spirit would be an addition to Jesus, but Jesus would still be with them in a new way, a way they would know only through the help of the Spirit.
2. What is the work of the Holy Spirit? Jesus describes them in numerous ways: a. The Spirit will be with us always; and b. He calls the Spirit, the Spirit of Truth. Now, we recognized Jesus as our Truth and the only truth there is. To search for the truth is to look for what is essential in life and so, to seek for Christ as He is our Way, our Truth, and our Life! Interestingly, truth in New Testament Greek is aletheia which means “un-forgetting” or “un-hidden.” We, therefore, find the truth when we recall the things that we’ve forgotten. Again, the idea of memory comes in. As Jesus gives them the Holy Spirit, He gives them “Someone” who will constantly remind them of that ultimate sacrifice He made for the salvation of humanity. The main role of the Holy Spirit, therefore, is to be their Memory, a sign of Christ’s truth.
I read this interesting story from the newspaper in the US while I was in Jollibee. It was about the Hall of Famer, Charles Connor, who married a Filipina in the name of Zenaida and changed his life. According to the story, Zenaida slowed him down in order that he may once again direct his life to the right path. When I asked my parishioners in St. Anthony what the moral of the story was, then simply kept quiet and then I blurted out, "Well, for one thing, you SHOULD marry a Filipina!" Then they all laughed just like what you're doing right now! Together with the Holy Spirit, we must also recognize His presence in people around us, as He is with US being Temples of the Holy Spirit, who could inspire us and challenge us to give our best. To all the seminarians out here, I would strongly advise that you form some sort of a support group – a group whom you would consider like a brotherhood to support you especially in the most trying moments of your formation. Life in the seminary is not always a "bed of roses." I've survived seminary life because, aside from my seminary formators, I had brother seminarians, who were very supportive in my training.
3. Finally, it is out of love that Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit. From the beginning, he has loved us and he asks only for our love in return. In fact, in the Gospel readings this week, Jesus has been telling his disciples to remain in Him in His love.
In a survey of 4-8 year olds, kids share their views on love. But what do little kids know about love? Read on and be surprised that despite their young and innocent minds, kids already have a simple but deep grasp of that four-letter word.
"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
"Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Brad Pitt."
"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
But what is the type of love Jesus is telling His disciples? Jesus clarifies in today’s Gospel that the test of true love is forgiveness and to be a channel of peace to each of our brothers and sisters.
And so memory, a very important faculty of man. It helps us remember significant moments of our lives. For us Catholics, it is a sign of God’s ultimate love for man; a living reminder the Christ remains with us and among us that He is still present in the Church even today. When you go home, recall that very memorable experience in your life and make sure to associate such experience to the truth that is Christ. How did such memorable experience remind you of that same love that Christ gave us.