When we talk about the Holy Spirit, we often think of the seven gifts God gives through the Sacrament of Confirmation. We are like a passive receiver that His graces do not affect our lives. That is, indeed a fatal misconception.
The Holy Spirit is the powerful source of life, the source of the Church, the power to renew the world. In the first reading from Acts of the Apostles, we will see how powerful his renewing power was. He is like a strong wind and a blazing fire. That wind and fire have awakened the hidden energy in uneducated fishermen, turning them into world-changing people. To receive the gift of the Holy Spirit is to receive the commission to act. Today, Jesus summarizes that mission of action through two tasks: Go out and Forgive.
The first task that Jesus gave to the disciples through the Holy Spirit was to go out: “As the Father has sent me, so am I sending you”. To receive the Holy Spirit is to be sent. The Holy Spirit is the power of action. The Holy Spirit cannot be confined in closed rooms. He is not a soul closed in depression and desolation. Wherever he goes, he will open the door of the house; open to receive fresh breeze; open to receive him coming to you. And most of all, open it up to him. A life without communication will become poor and wither. A self-centered soul will be like a stagnant, polluted pond.
Leaving will make us rich and strong. Leaving is without wandering, but going to a place the Holy Spirit wants to lead us. The place where the Holy Spirit wants us to go is: ” to proclaim the Good News to the poor, to proclaim freedom to the captives, to let the blind know their sight, to set free the oppressed, proclaiming a year of favor from God” (Lk 4:18-19). The Holy Spirit will open the door of selfishness, he will break through the narrow door, He will strengthen timid souls, He will sweep away all layers of dust and moss, He will pour into our souls a new source of vitality to help us go on the road with enthusiasm.
The second task that Jesus gave to his disciples is to forgive. Forgiveness and reconciliation are always big problems in the world. Wars, divisions, and conflicts happen almost every day. Humans are imperfect, so living together is having disagreements and conflicts. If each time there is a conflict, we eliminate a friend, then perhaps we will end up with no friends. One cannot live alone. Everyone needs the other. Living together is a necessity. Therefore, forgiveness and reconciliation are extremely necessary. Reconciliation consists of two actions: apologizing and forgiving. Both things are hard to do because people are full of pride. Even though they know they made a mistake, few people dare to admit their mistake and apologize. Apologizing is hard, forgiving is even harder. Therefore, reconciliation requires a lot of grace of the Holy Spirit. We must look to Pope John Paul as a shining example. He is a shining example of departure. His life was a tireless departure. Despite his advanced age and weak health, he still set out to go to all peoples and countries. People contact all people regardless of religion, political opinion, color, race, language. He goes to even those who oppose him, who are discordant and hostile to him. In preparation for the Jubilee, He made a spectacular gesture unprecedented in the history of the Church. It is he who openly acknowledges the mistakes of the Church to ask for forgiveness from everyone. This is indeed an act of the Holy Spirit to purify the Church. The Holy Father received the gift of the Holy Spirit, so he went to make peace with everyone. This act of humility helped renew the Church, giving it a new, younger face, a new abundance of life.
Knowing how to go out, not only to go on pilgrimage to the Church to receive a plenary indulgence but also to go out to the little ones, the poor, the abandoned, the unlucky in life, the unlucky ones as well as the people we don’t like, those who oppose us, and even those who harm us. Above all, sow forgiveness. Forgiving our brothers, so that they may also forgive us, so that we may become worthy children of God. The Holy Spirit wants to renew the Church. But renewal must begin with each soul. The Holy Spirit will renew the face of the world, but renewal must begin with each person. Let us open our hearts to the grace of the Holy Spirit and enthusiastically cooperate with his plan.
Come Holy Spirit and renew the face of the world!
Our Lady of La Vang Community