MONDAY OF THE SEVENTH WEEK OF EASTER
Acts 19:1-8, Psalm 68:2-3.4-5ac.6-7ab[R see 33a], John 16:29-33
KNOWING THE HOLY SPIRIT
Our today’s first reading makes it clear that we can be baptised and yet not walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. We see how the believers in Ephesus claimed complete ignorance of the Holy Spirit. They knew only the baptism of John the Baptist. The baptism of John the Baptist was the baptism of repentance, preparing people for the coming of Jesus.
“I am baptising you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11
John the Baptist was spitting out fire, condemning the people and sternly reprimanding them of their evil ways. In turn, the people were compelled to make frantic efforts to turn away from their sins and come for baptism. In John’s approach to evangelisation, many of the crowd flocking to him probably must have come to him out of fear. Some people must have rushed to him because of the aura of the great prophet they saw around him. “What if this is real?” some may be thinking. His baptism introduced the people to Jesus and Jesus introduces a person to the giver of life who proceeds from the Father. “It is not by might, and not by power, but by my spirit says the Lord.” Zechariah 4:6
On the other hand, the baptism of Jesus ushers us into a new life of grace whereby we rely on the endowment of the Holy Spirit in our day-to-day living. It is no longer us who live, but Jesus who lives in us.[ Gal 2:20] Having been soaked into the life of Jesus, the strength of our character does not depend on our individual ability to avoid sins, but on the special power that comes from the special gifts of the Spirit in us. Our new life Christ helps to lead our lives not on guessing but with the special awareness that comes from the imbuement of the Spirit.
Moreover, the baptism of the Holy Spirit brings us into a new realm of existence in our Christian life. The arm of flesh will fail us. “Thus says the Lord, cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who makes flesh his strength, whose hearts turns away from the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:5. Our new life in Jesus invites us to step up in our daily living. It helps us to look at our life not just from the dimension of our sins, but to trust more in the power of God to save. As preachers or people called to witness to the resurrection of Christ, we are called to dwell more on the activity of Holy Spirit in human conversion and not simply on our power of persuasion.
Dear beloved, as we journey during the novena to the Holy Spirit, let us invite Him to fill us with more of His anointing. Let us call on him to fall afresh upon us.
O Lord Jesus, you said it in your word, that in the world, I shall have tribulation. You equally gave me the courage, that you have overcome the world. Left to me, I will disappoint you. Kindly give me more of you. Help me to stand tall in the midst of my daily challenges. I know that you are ever present with me. Never permit me to separate myself from you. May your kingdom come into my heart. Amen.