“He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.” ~ Saint Bede the Venerable
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” This is the question posed by Saint Paul to the Ephesians that he encountered on his journey from Corinth to Ephesus in today’s 1st Reading (Acts 19:1-8). When they responded that they had never even heard of the Holy Spirit, that they were instead baptized by way of John the Baptist, a baptism rooted in repentance and a belief in the one who was to come after John the Baptist, Jesus the Christ, that Paul sprung to action. He would lay hands upon them so that they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit; the dividends would be immediate. . . “The Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” They would now be fully equipped to fulfill their original Baptismal vow, to go out into the world and evangelize.
In today’s Gospel (John 16:29-33), we revisit the final moments of the Last Supper discourse wherein we find Jesus more concerned about the future wellbeing of his Apostles than the sins that he knew they would commit, such as Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial of him. He in fact foreshadows their abandonment when he says “behold, the hour is coming when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”
The similarities between this encounter and the dialogue that Jesus engaged in with his disciples prior to his Ascension (John 15:26-16:4, 16:5-11, 12-15, etc) is similar in that it underscores Jesus’ selflessness and singularly-focused concern for his Apostles. He knows no other way. Jesus is not held captive by fear because he does not live in himself, but rather in the Father (John 10:30-33). It is this power that conquers the world, it is this power that brings us tranquility and peace. We see once again today that Jesus wants this peace to reign in the hearts of all his children. https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/The-Elusivity-of-Peace
Saint Paul knew that one needs to experience the power of the living word in order to bring others to its radiant light, the light of truth. As today’s 1st Reading shows, he applied they same logic to the love of the Holy Spirit. He knew that one had to to experience the love of the Holy Spirit, a love that forgives and trusts, before one can love in a similar way, something that we are all called to do.
As we celebrate Memorial Day today, we pause to reflect upon those who lived a life rooted in the love of the Holy Spirit, those men and women who gave their lives for love of God and love of the United States of America. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13). May the Holy Spirit continue to come down upon our soldiers, sailors and airmen, protecting and emboldening them to always fight for liberty with great fortitude and faith.
** May 25th marks the Feast Day of the man whose quote kicked off today’s Reflection, Saint Bede the Venerable, Benedictine Monk & Doctor of the Church. Saint Bede was dubbed “The Father of English History” due to his many scholarly works, including “The Ecclesiastical History of the English People” He is the Patron Saint of English writers and historians. Seek his Heavenly intercession today and always, asking out Lord for the most powerful of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the gift of wisdom. **
Saint Bede the Venerable, pray for us....
Patrick44 (author) on May 27, 2020:
Thank you as always for being such a loyal reader Eric. “Preach the Gospel at all times. . . when necessary, use words.” These were the thoughts of Saint Francis of Assisi on matters pertaining to evangelism. We should all heed this message, remembering that out actions and choices ~ not to mention our thoughts ~ are every bit as important as our words. A life rooted in charity and service to others is, to me, the very best way to evangelize. In the Gospels, Jesus shows us the way by virtue of his actions. Jesus should always be our guide; he was the perfect role model.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 26, 2020:
This is a really good one today. Thank you.
Do they have a list of different ways to evangelize?