Pentecost and Witnessing to Truth

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good (1 Cor. 12:7).

Today, with joy and thanksgiving we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost. The seven weeks of Easter have come to an end and Christ Our Lord’s Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, our Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 731). The gift of the Holy Spirit begun at Pentecost never ceases and the fruits of the Holy Spirit’s gift are manifested in the holiness of our life; each one of us. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. What this means very simply is that the gift of the Holy Spirit that each one of us receives is given for our own sanctification and for the benefit of the Church’s unity or communion. The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church, making her a vibrant community and a fraternal communion, renewing her before the world and in the world. This is how the Church serves the world as a sign of hope and salvation.

At the last supper, in His High Priestly prayer recorded for us by the Apostle John, Our Lord said of the Holy Spirit, ‘When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth’ (Jn. 16:13). At this time in the history of the world and sadly, even of the Church, we need to implore the Holy Spirit to restore us on the path to the truth: the truth about God and God’s law, the truth about man and human nature, especially in view of the madness of transgender ideology, the truth about human sexuality and it nature and purpose, the truth about human life, its value and meaning, the truth about our origin and ultimate destiny in God. In a world that has tragically lost its way, and for us in a country whose solutions to social ills seems to be only death, literally, we must witness to the truth of Christ, all the truth. This is how we will serve both the Church and the world as a sign of hope and salvation. This is especially important for our young people growing up as they are in the dictatorship of relativism that has given us the culture of death. Many of our young people, because of their inherent goodness and idealism – a good thing to have especially in youth –have been seduced by the lies of the world. These lies are sometimes blatant, but more often than not, they are subtle lies that appeal to compassion and love. St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross wisely warns us: Do not accept anything as truth if it lacks love; and anything as love if it lacks truth. If they have been led astray, we must be patient.

As for the Church, we must implore the Holy Spirit to make the clergy and laity alike, but perhaps more so the clergy and the hierarchy co-operators of the truth (cooperatores veritatis); faithful shepherds who will feed the flock entrusted to them with knowledge and understanding. Surely, the words of the Apostle John should express the desire and sentiment of everyone entrusted with the care of souls: No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth (3 Jn. 1:4). The Church is not a monolithic institution, a nameless mass. No, the Church is a living communion with Jesus Christ; a communion in which we all participate individually first, and then collectively; here as a parish family. When we support one another in our fidelity to Christian truth and our mission to bear witness to the truth, we also become co-operators of the truth. St Paul provides us with the evidence of our communion with Our Lord, the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5: 23). These fruits are needed especially in our witness to the truth but also as a source of consolation in the face of opposition and even violence to our witness. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling and these fruits when abundant benefit everyone, without exception. History bears witness to this.

This is why St. Paul could with all conviction say: For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing (2 Cor. 2:15). To be aware of this is a great grace and it is a life-changing grace because this awareness brings about a complete change in our outlook on everything. Such a grace may be described as a personal Pentecost, an experience of the Presence of God that changes the way we understand ourselves in relation to God and everything in the world; such that our life and lifestyle are permeated with the love of God and neighbour; and the desire for the salvation of souls, especially the souls of poor sinners. When this comes about, it can be said that we have begun to have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).

Let us ask the Holy Spirit today in all earnestness and simplicity to enlighten our minds with His truth ad enlarge our hearts with His charity; that we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, [may be] changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18)