Christ and the Spirit
The Gift of the Spirit, the Gift from the Spirit
Jesus said to his followers:
If you love me, you will obey my commands to love others. I will ask the Father and he will give you another Helper, the Spirit, who will always stay with you. On that last day, you will know I am in my Father, I am in you, and you are in me.
Based on John 14:15-16, 20
Jesus gave us Godís Spirit, our Guide. The Spirit invites us to follow Jesus, to love God, and to love others. When we say ďYesĒ to the Spirit, we know we are children of God.
The sacraments of the Church celebrate the work of the Spirit in our lives. We first received the gift of the Spirit in our baptism; this was our first step as children of God. The Spirit urges us to take part in Godís forgiveness with the sacrament of Reconciliation, especially when we donít follow the command of Jesus to treat others with love. In the Eucharist, the bishop or priest prays the Spirit will come upon the gifts of bread and wine so they will become the Body and Blood of Jesus. Through the power of Godís Spirit, the Risen Jesus becomes present to us in the Eucharist. We become one with Jesus when we receive him in Communion. Finally, the Spirit gives us his gifts in Confirmation: fortitude, counsel, understanding, knowledge, wisdom, reverence, and awe of the Lord. We use these gifts for the good of others, as ways to show our love for them.
As the Spirit works in our lives, we are changed for the better. We might not feel different (in fact we might not feel anything). When we pray and when we act for the good of others, however, we know that the Spirit is helping us.
I am the vine and you are the branches.
Without me, you cannot do anything as my follower.
If the follower stays close to me and I am close to him,
he will do many things,
just like the branch that produces many grapes.
Based on John 15:5
When we are one with Jesus, we can do things that might surprise us. Like the branch that produces an abundance of grapes, we can do much good through the power of the Spirit. We can praise God. We can help others, especially the poor and the needy. We can say ďNo!í to evil. But, when we are distant from God, we are limited, simply because we do not have the help of the Spirit.
How can we stay close to Jesus? One of the best ways is to prepare and receive Communion each time we attend Mass. We start to prepare for Communion when we deliberately think about who we will receive. Jesus is coming to us in his Body and Blood. What do we want to say to him? We can also make an examination of conscience. If we have sinned, we can ask Jesus to forgive us.
There are other ways to prepare for Communion. One way is to fast from food before Mass. Another way is to dress modestly and to act with respect at Mass, especially when we come up to receive Communion.
After we receive Communion, we should take a few moments to thank the Spirit for the great gift of Jesus in our lives. We should also reflect on how we are one with Jesus and others. After Mass, we should try to help others.
When we stay close to Jesus, we can have hope even if we cannot see results.
Jesus told his followers:
Godís Guide, the Holy Spirit, will teach you everything you need to know about me and will remind you of everything I told you. You already heard me tell you:
ĎI am leaving you, but I will come back to you.í
If you love me, you will be happy that Iím going back to the Father. Remember, the Father is greater than me. So, donít get upset! Donít give up!
Iíve told you this before it happens, so when it does happen, youíll have faith.
Based on John 14:26, 27b-29
Jesus is with us, but not in the same way the Apostles experienced him. They lived with him when he lived on earth. They knew he died. They saw him after he rose again. And they were witnesses to his ascension into heaven. When he was gone, they truly believed Jesus would return in glory. Until Jesus returned, the followers were guided by the Spirit. Wit the Spirit, they knew Jesus was with them when they shared the Eucharist, readings from the Bible, and mutual acts of love.
The Spirit gives us hope. When times are at their darkest, the Spirit will give us the strength to look ahead. Jesus will return! With the power of the Spirit, our Lord will bring us home to live with God our Father.
I will not leave you alone, for I will come to you again. In a while, the people only concerned about this world wonít see me anymore. But, because I live, you will see me and you will live.
Based on John 14:18-19