1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Romans 8:8-17
John 20:19-23 or 14:15-16, 23b-26
Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, remembering the time when the Holy Spirit descended upon Mary and the apostles. In both our readings from Acts and John, the gift of the Holy Spirit is accompanied by a commission to proclaim the Good News. In the Gospel reading, Jesus says to His disciples, "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." In the reading from Acts, the apostles go out from the house they are in, and begin to speak about Jesus to all who are gathered there.
Do we see ourselves as commissioned by Jesus since we, too, have received the Holy Spirit? Do we see ourselves as being sent? As disciples of Christ, we have been sent to proclaim the Good News to all the world!
Think about what kind of a change there would be if we were to come to work or school with the attitude that we were sent by Jesus to proclaim the Gospel! I’m not talking about a "holier-than-thou" attitude. I’m not talking about getting on a soapbox and pontificating about the Bible. But what if we came to work or school thinking about how we could witness to God’s love in Jesus Christ by how we do our jobs or pursue our studies, and how we relate to others during the day?
What if we saw the way we relate to our families and friends as part of our call to share God’s love in Jesus Christ? What if we were to see everything we say or do in relation to our mission to share the hope we have in the Risen Lord? To have this kind of attitude in our lives is what I think is meant by St. Paul in our second reading from Romans: "Consequently, brothers and sisters, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but, if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live."
To live in the Spirit is to live in mission. To follow the Spirit is to have the mindset of being sent. May we follow the Spirit by the grace of God!
Fr. Phil Paxton, C.P. is pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, Fairfield, Alabama.