Fr. Abadie has decided in his infinite wisdom to allow this lowly seminarian to begin writing reflections every week in order to better prepare me for my (God willing) future vocation to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Those that know me, might think this is quite a dangerous task and might be foolish on the part of your good pastor. They may be right, but in obedience I will write these reflections and if anything goes wrong, you know who to blame...
This Sunday is the Holy Feast of Pentecost. It is the feast that commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles ten days after Christ ascended into glory. This fulfills the promise of Christ when he states in St. John’s Gospel (14:15-21) that the Father will send us, “another Paraclete.” This could be confusing since we usually only refer to the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete, but Paraclete means advocate. Christ is our advocate to the Father, so when he says, “another Paraclete,” he is simply referring to the one that was to come at Pentecost.
As I was reading this Gospel passage, which isn’t a reading for this Sunday, I noticed some phrasing that is very peculiar and gives a message that I believe is necessary to relay to the contemporary church. The verse comes when Our Lord describes the Paraclete saying, “The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, nor knows him. But you shall know him; because he shall abide with you and shall be in you...”
What does Christ mean when he says, “whom the world cannot receive?” Are we not the world? The answer to that question is no, we are not the world. Of course we all live in the world, but as scripture tells us, we are to be in the world and not of the world. What Christ means by “the world,” are those that have succumbed to “worldliness.” When we are baptized, we are baptized into the death and resurrection of our Lord and receive a new birth as adopted sons and daughters of the Father. We now belong to a new kingdom, the Kingdom of God, our Holy Mother Church. We are snatched from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the Kingdom of Light. “The World,” is the kingdom of darkness and this is evident later in that gospel when Christ uses the name, “Lord of the World,” to refer to Satan.
So why is the Holy Spirit not meant for “the world?” It is simply because one cannot be both of the world and of the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit is a gift to us, to the church. The only way for the world to receive fully this gift, is to become members of the Kingdom of God, and it is our obligation to do combat with the world, in order to conquer for Christ and liberate its captives, bringing them under the peaceful reign of Our Lord.
Let us pray to God to receive fully the gift of the Holy Spirit. Pray that he may inspire us to win souls for Christ. This gift is not meant for few but for all. As I’ve heard said before, the very best goods are meant to be shared in common. This is the best gift! It does not soley belong to the Pope, the bishops and all the clergy. It belongs to all of us. The same Spirt that spoke to the prophets, John the Baptist and moved the Apostles to spread the faith to the ends of the earth is given to us so that we may do the same! Do not bury what is given to us, share it and let it work through you, so we may build up the Kingdom of God!
Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus Imperat,