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Father Muench Says...

Celebrating the Holy Spirit

May 19, 2021

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

In celebration of Pentecost, I would like to take some time with you as we celebrate the Holy Spirit. Pentecost remembers the coming down of the Holy Spirit on the apostles. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit at the Last Supper. He used words like the advocate, the counselor. The apostles wondered what this Holy Spirit would accomplish for them. Yet, they keep their faith in Jesus and found transformation in the Holy Spirit.

At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of Truth, which the world cannot accept because it neither sees me nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15)

The Holy Spirit came down on the apostles, transforming them. They were no longer afraid. They were ready to accept the challenge, willing to bring the message of Jesus to the world. With the power of the Holy Spirit, they began to preach and teach about the Lord Jesus to all who would listen.

I believe, today, that the Holy Spirit continues to transform the Church through the sacraments of confirmation and holy orders. I believe that the Holy Spirit comes down with power upon those who accept ordination as a priest and on those who accept confirmation just as on that first Pentecost.

As a newly ordained priest, I had many questions about the gift of the Holy Spirit and my future ministry. I knew that Jesus promised his apostles all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In faith, I knew how much I needed the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit. I had been taught how important it was for me to surrender completely to the Holy Spirit. I know even now I must continue to depend on the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus made it very clear at the Las Supper. He said, “I am the truth, the Way, and the Life.” With the help of the Holy Spirit, my ministry will be successful if I follow.

Truth – truth about God, truth about myself – is a gift of God. God is the possessor and giver of all truth. The Holy Spirit reveals to me as a priest that which is true and right and good. This truth liberates me from all that is false and misleading.

Jesus knew that the apostles at the Last Supper would need the ongoing guidance and help of the Holy Spirit after he returned to the Father in Heaven. Jesus continues to make that promise of the Holy Spirit to each newly ordained priest. I know this has brought happiness to my vocation as a priest. The happiness that I have found through the gift of the Holy Spirit. This happiness is God’s gift to all his disciples throughout the ages, a gift given so that they could live in the freedom of his love and truth.

So, today, as we celebrate Pentecost, we again remember that the Holy Spirit is our life. The Holy Spirit gives us the guidance to proclaim our faith – the same faith that the apostles taught. It continues to be our message: Jesus died, and was buried, and rose again on the third day, and will come again to judge, to raise the dead and give everlasting life.

So, the question for is: Do you listen attentively to God’s word and allow the Holy Spirit to give you understanding of God’s truth and plan for your life?

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