By Marge Steinhage Fenelon

Holy Spirit - Pentecost

 

“But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me” ~ John 15:26

 

The Institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation

We have a choice of two readings today. The first relates to the moment on the evening of Easter when Jesus mysteriously enters the chamber where the disciples are gathered. He fills them with the Holy Spirit and commissions them to conduct the Sacrament of Reconciliation henceforward. This passage gives us proof that Confession is a valid and necessary sacrament of the Church.

Describing the Descent of the Holy Spirit

The second choice for today’s Gospel also has Jesus talking to his disciples about the Holy Spirit. But here he is describing what will occur when the Spirit descends upon them in the Upper Room on Pentecost. He explains to them that the Spirit will come to them and fill them with knowledge of the Father and encourage them to give witness to him. Jesus assures his disciples that the Spirit can only speak truth and that he will guide them as they proceed on their mission, informing the nation of the Church. He also hints at the relaying of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit to the disciples. I think the most beautiful thing about this passage is the way that our Lord describes the way the Spirit speaks not on his own but on behalf of the Father and constantly gives glory to them. I once heard a priest in a homily use the term “Kiss of Eternal Delight” when referring to the Holy Spirit’s relationship with the other two Persons of the Holy Trinity. He did not mean this sexually nor even physically but as a symbol of the consuming love and bonding between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Most Important Word

In the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Jesus uses the word Counselor when referring to the Holy Spirit. This is an important detail to consider. In secular terms, a counselor is a person who gives advice or guidance in a particular area of expertise. Lawyers are often referred to as counselors because they provide advice in law cases. Sometimes, it is a person who has supervisory duties at a summer camp. In my teen years, I was a counselor for a Catholic girl’s youth summer camp. My fellow counselors and I worked to ensure that the girls were safe and engaged in the activities (homesickness was a common problem) and that they went away from the camp, having been fortified in their faith. The Holy Spirit’s role is similar in our lives. He works to ensure that we are kept spiritually safe, engaged in the Church, and fortified in our faith. He offers us guidance in our questions and decisions, consolation in our times of hardship and sorrow, and zeal for our mission of giving witness to Christ in the world.

Calling On the Holy Spirit

Jesus promised that when the Spirit comes, he will guide us in all truth, always speaking on the authority of the Father. Jesus is saying here that the Holy Spirit has the knowledge, grace, and power to guide us in all aspects of our lives, from the tiniest detail to the largest, most consequential actions and decisions. The Spirit guides us in all truth, not just some truth.

 

Prayer

Holy Spirit, I do not know you nearly as well as I should or as deeply as I would like to. Come to me, reveal the Truth to me, fortify me in my faith, and be my Counselor throughout my life. Amen.

Call to Action

Form a brief prayer – 1 to 2 lines – to the Holy Spirit, asking him to be present to you and to reveal the Truth to you in all things. Write it down, post it where you will see it, and remember to pray it daily.

 

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