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Happy Birthday!

Exactly 50 days ago, we celebrated the Resurrection of Christ from the grave on the night of the Easter Vigil. Today, we celebrate the birth of the early Church, when the gathered apostles and women received the Holy Spirit as they gathered together. John the Baptist foresaw this day, when he proclaimed that, “the one who will come after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Mth 3:11) This proclamation has come true, with the bestowal of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.

For the gathered Apostles, this was a day of transformation. It is a day, when their fears and worries were eliminated and they were filled with courage and assurance. It is a day when these uneducated men, had gained the knowledge and power to work miracles and to speak in any language. Thus through this miracle, the Church is universal; it is catholic. 

A random fact is that today is actually also the day that I got baptised as a small child, 3 months old. At every baptism a child is adopted by God and receives the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is then fully given at the time of Confirmation, when another Pentecost happen upon all those receiving it. 
 


On this day, we also ask God to send his Spirit once again upon us, so that we may again be refreshed and renewed in listening to him. The receiving of the Spirit is a time when we must transform ourselves, just like the apostles were. This transformation is described by St Paul, to the early Christians, in the second reading: “ Live by the Spirit and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit” (Galatians 5: 16-17). It is a transformation of your life and how you live. Jesus came and set out a new life style; a life style that was opposed to individualism, secularism, greed, and idolatry. According to Paul, it is a life style that shows love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5: 22-23) The transformation of the Spirit is one where we die to the earthly pleasures and live by the spirit. We live guided by Christ. It is a transformation where we deny all selfishness and become selfless. It is a conversion from where we look less at our own needs and look at the needs of others. Paul sums it up beautifully, “ those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” 
 

Jesus, in todays Gospel, explains the role of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, in our lives. Within four verbs throughout the passage, Jesus explains that just because he is leaving, it does not mean the Apostles will go without Divine assistance. Firstly, Jesus says, the spirit will testify on his behalf. Like the Apostles, the first evangelizer, we to are supposed to testify, or bare witness in our lives to the risen Christ. Jesus also says that the spirit will guide us, because he will declare everything he hears. As Christ guided us while he was on earth to do the will of the Father, so the Holy Spirit will now be the new guider. The Holy Spirit is the mediator as we await the Second coming of Jesus. So, through this promise that the Spirit will guide us, Jesus assures his apostles that they will have assistance and a guider to listen to even though he is not on earth. Finally, the ultimate mission of the Spirit, is to glorify the Son and the Father. Through his testimony, guidance, and declaration he glorifies the Father. So we to are called to Glorify Jesus in our lives, by loving one another and being selfless; like St Paul says.

 

More than ever, there is a need for Catholics to be evangelizers to the world. The Apostles were transformed into evangelizer by the Spirit. We to, through our baptism and confirmation must also become evangelizers. Through the daily actions of our lives we can share the Good news. Through helping someone on the street, or giving food to those hungry, listening to a friend in a tough situation and being there for people. But the simplest way of being an evangelizer is by doing the next loving thing- whatever it may be. It should be our goal always to search for what the next loving thing is that we can do now, with Joy. We cannot evangelize without Joy. We all want to be Happy, and Happiness attracts people. So when we do the next loving thing, we need to do it with Joy-joy in the heart and joy in the soul.

An evangelizer must be someone who is willing to express to someone to “come and see.” Jesus said this when he was calling his first disciples. When they followed him, and experience him, they became happy and stayed with him. The Samaritan women, also said, “come and see” when she had gone back into town to get people to see the Messiah. It is about sending the personal invitation to come to church to our friends, family and collegues that we can evangelize to them. To those who do not know Christ we are called to evangelize to. We are called to proclaim the good news to all the ends of the earth.

Since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Feast of Pentecost has never been the same. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit requires a change in our lives. It is a change that we must all work towards in fulfilling Gods plan for us. It is a transformation in our life that forms us into disciples and that brings us closer to Christ. May we once again experience a Baptism of the Holy Spirit, so that we may be refreshed so has to evangelize to the world, the Good News of Christ.


Lord Send Out Your Spirit, and Renew the face of the Earth!


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