Spirit of Signs, Life as well as Truth
At the request of Jesus, God gives the Holy Spirit to those who love Jesus.
First, the Spirit remains with those who prove they love Jesus by keeping his commandments. As the presence of the Ascended one who has become the Giver of gifts, the Spirit equips believers for greater works.
Yes, those clothed with him do greater works. The signs they do amaze others. These, then, accept the word of God. Afterwards, they receive the Spirit, through the prayerful laying of hands, and become witnesses of Jesus.
The Spirit, secondly, brings to life those who are dead to sin. They receive him so that they may rise with the one who died for sins.
Thirdly, the Spirit is the Advocate who guides the disciples to all truth. He teaches them the answer to people of good will who ask them to give a reason for their hope. Likewise, he instructs the persecuted because of their faith. With the Spirit comforting them, they do not worry beforehand about what to say or do.
Indeed, such is the Spirit, and such are those who clothe themselves with him, which begs a few questions.
Do our words and works reveal the Spirit? Do we point to Jesus, fixing our gaze on him, breathing his breath in and out?
St. Vincent de Paul was like that. His being centered in Christ shows in the advices he gave. He reminded Father Portail, “We live in Jesus Christ by the death of Jesus Christ …” (SV.EN I:276). And he told Father Durand, “You must empty yourself of self in order to clothe yourself with Jesus Christ” (SV.EN I:311). Above all, his firm and admirable faith is evident. He spoke continually with God, with Jesus. Even while talking to other people, he kept interjecting: “Oh, my God!”; “Oh, Savior!”; “Blessed be God!” He did so without affectation; it was the spontaneity of a loving and faithful heart (see Delarue). Besides, with the light of faith, St. Vincent saw Christ in the poor.
Do we frame the scene so that it is most encompassing and penetrating? Are we like Philip? He did not let old biases, which kept Jews and Samaritans apart, carry him away. The complacent attitude, “We have always done it this way,” did not stop him either (EG 33).
And could it be that, focused on the right doctrine and strict religious practice, we fail to recognize the time of God’s visit?
And are we, partakers of the Lord’s Supper, creative, communing with him in the love that is infinitely creative (SV.EN XI:131)?
God, our Father, give us your Spirit so that, living as did Jesus, we may become his signs and his witnesses.
21 May 2017
6th Sunday of Easter (A)
Acts 8, 5-8. 14-17; 1 Pt 3, 15-18; Jn 14, 15-21