“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born of water and Spirit
he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
What is born of flesh is flesh
and what is born of spirit is spirit.
Do not be amazed that I told you,
‘You must be born from above.’
The wind blows where it wills,
and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (Jn 3:5-8)
Yesterday was the final day of “Easter”. As you know, we celebrated Easter not only on Easter day but, also, throughout the entire Octave of Easter. Now? Now we await the ending of the Easter Season.
That ending takes place with the celebration of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the apostles in the upper room. That great event marked the birth of the Church. Until that moment, even though Jesus had risen from the dead, His followers still lived, pretty much, in fear. They were afraid to gather together because they did not want to be killed. They were afraid to speak the name of the Lord. They were, quite simply, afraid.
Fear does terrible things to people. It freezes them from becoming the kinds of people they are called to be. It keeps them in the dark. It makes them ineffective. Even worse, a person’s fear can be transmitted to others. Before you know it, everyone is living in fear.
Ah, but the Spirit, the Spirit…
The Spirit of God frees us from fear. The Spirit of God fills us with great gifts given for the benefit of all. The Spirit of God guides us home.
The Church is in that “waiting period” now — the period between the Second Sunday of Easter and Pentecost. Our readings at the weekday and weekend Masses will address the need for the Spirit, the waiting for the Spirit, the hope of the Spirit. We live in hope each day of our lives. We have received that Spirit at our baptism and then, later, at our confirmation. We rely on that Spirit each and every day of our lives.
Indeed, Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on us. We await you!
FAITH ACTION: Take some time reflecting upon the reliance you have upon the gifts of the Spirit in your own life. After you have reflected, say the following prayer reverently, thinking about each word:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.