‘Receive the Holy Spirit’
The Holy Spirit descends. The final act of the great divine drama begins. The ship of the Church sets sail on uncharted waters. The parting promise of Jesus is fulfilled. From now on the transforming presence of the Advocate, the Teacher, the Comforter, the Paraclete, will guide the ship on sunlit days or on stormy seas. The word ‘Paraclete’ coming from the Greek ‘parakletos’ means ‘one who walks alongside’ and we must never lose sight of that reassuring image as we battle the headwinds of the ‘untroubled irreligion’ of our day. The Holy Spirit never grows tired. The Holy Spirit never grows old. The first disciples also experienced fear, uncertainty and apprehension, but on that earth-shattering Pentecost Day their hearts were lifted and their courage restored and what began as a tiny spark would soon become a raging fire reaching the ends of the earth. In Baptism and Confirmation that Spirit of courage was bestowed on us. Every time we dip our hand in the holy water font we are reminded of the dignity and power we carry within us. If only we released the power of ‘the one who walks alongside’ us and dwells within us, what a different world it would be, a world aglow with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. If only…! Spirit of the living God fall afresh on us.
‘In our time consciousness of the presence of the Spirit has to a very great extent disappeared even in the believing community’. (Rudolf Schnackenburg)