Praised be Jesus and Mary now and forever!
During Pentecost last year, Pope Francis’ homily invited us to reflect on the three words linked to the working of the Holy Spirit – newness, harmony and mission.
Newness. We have the tendency to plan everything and live according to the plan we drew. This might involve our relationships, the careers we choose, and even the ways we plan to serve God. However, there are times when the Holy Spirit leads us to something new to us. We feel afraid because it drives us out of the plans that we have. It drives us out of our comfort zone. Yet whenever God reveals himself through our salvation history, he brings newness and change. He requires our complete trust in HIm. From Noah to Abram to Moses and even the apostles, God brought sudden shifts and changes in their lives. It may not be that extreme in some cases, but the point is: We must learn to be open to God’s surprises. Surrender. One of my favorite brothers in Christ, ASY, shared,
“…transformation and leaving from where I stand and taken to where the Lord brings (me), to where I have never been.”
Harmony. The Holy Spirit also gave us diversity in charism and gifts. There are people who are good teachers. There are some who are good in music. While, there are some who are very hospitable. Is the Holy Spirit creating chaos with all this differences? Definitely not. Unity is not uniformity; the spirit of unity leads back to harmony. We serve together using the different gifts that God has given us. Let us not bring division because of diversity. Let us walk together and support one another towards one direction which is Christ. Also, even if we are not united in the beginning, our mission will eventually unite us. We just need to have faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis said,
“One of Fathers of the Church has an expression which I love: the Holy Spirit himself is harmony – “Ipse harmonia est”. Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity.”
Mission. What mission are we talking about earlier? Pope Francis explained,
“…he impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the good news of the Gospel, to communicate the joy of faith, the encounter with Christ. The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission.”
The Holy Spirit was sent upon us to be with us through this mission. We receive courage to bring the Gospel to the world.
Here are some questions for reflection taken from Pope Francis’ homily.
1) Are we open to God’s surprises? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the courage to strike out along the new paths which God’s newness sets before us, or do we resist, barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new?”
2) Am I open to the harmony of the Holy Spirit, overcoming every form of exclusivity? Do I let myself be guided by him, living in the Church and with the Church?
3) Do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission?
When we are in a faith community, it is good because we are nourished by God through the people around us who share the same faith and passion in loving Jesus. Also, we learn to live harmoniously with one another despite the differences in our charisms and gifts. Unfortunately, it sometimes becomes a trap. I can say this because I have been active in a charismatic prayer group for quite several years now.When we are nourished and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are called to a newness and to a mission. This is not limited to serving within our group (as teachers, musicians, etc.), but it is to eventually go out to the real world and be God’s witnesses. It may be scary sometimes because it is out of our comfort zone but, if you take the first step, you’ll be amazed at how God will use you as His instrument. Do not worry. The Holy Spirit is always living within us.
Have a blessed Lent.
Kristine G. Veneracion