Dear Sacred Heart Family
One of the things that impressed me most when I lived in Indonesia was that in a country that was 88% Muslim, 8% Christian, and 4% Catholic, 3 of their 6 National holidays were Christian feasts. I often ask Catholics, “If you had to choose our three most important feasts, what would they be?” Most people guess correctly Christmas and Easter, but I never get the same answer for the third feast with guesses ranging from the Ascension, the Assumption, Good Friday, or Palm Sunday. I believe Indonesia gets it right when they say our 3rd most important date is Pentecost.
We all know that Pentecost is the coming of the Holy Spirit, but I think many of us don’t really know what the holy Spirit does. We remember the Holy Spirit gives us 7 gifts at our confirmation (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord) and perhaps that the apostles received the gift of tongues on Pentecost, but the Holy Spirit is so much more in our lives. Jesus captured what the Holy Spirit does in one word, the Paraclete.This title Paraclete includes its three distinct actions as Advocate, Comforter, and Helper.
As Advocate (John 14:16-17), the Holy Spirit advocates, counsels, and defends us before the Father. In modern terms, our Advocate acts like our lawyer. At the same time, Jesus tells us the Holy Spirit also acts like a judge as it is the one who will convict us for our sins, either to righteousness or condemnation. (John 16:8)
The second thing the Holy Spirit does as Paraclete is to be our Comforter. Jesus was well aware of the sadness His followers would experience with His leaving and in life in general. In His great love for us, He sends the one who will console us. This consolation comes from the Holy Spirit in two ways, the first by hope (Romans 15:13) and second and more importantly by truth (John 16:13). It is the Holy Spirit that helps us to know the truth and live in truth, which is the source of all comfort and peace.
Finally, perhaps the most common action of the Holy Spirit is as helper. The Holy Spirit not only helps us in our human weakness (Rom 8:26) but is also here to give us remind us of all that Jesus taught and give us insight (John 14:26). But more than instruction, the Holy Spirit will help us to witness what we have seen and heard (Acts 1:8) This witnessing can take the dramatic form of speaking in tongues, as the disciples on Pentecost (Acts2:6) or through acts of love which has been poured into our hearts (Rom5:5).
While it is true the Spirit advocates, comforts, and helps us, these gifts are like all of God’s gifts, meant to be shared and at the point we share them, Pentecost is here once again, and the Church is born anew.
With a heart for Mission,