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Father Muench Says...

Transformed by the Holy Spirit

May 15, 2024

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Today, the sacred seasons of Lent and Easter have prepared us for the Pentecost. We have prayed and celebrated, remembering our Church’s beginnings as we developed a more profound peace and sacredness. We have walked with Jesus and made his message ours: God loves us. God loves us all.

On Ash Wednesday, we began the time of Lent – the time for prayer and fasting to prepare ourselves for the celebration of the holiest week of the year, Holy Week. Holy Week is the most transformative time for us, Christians. During Holy Week, we walk with Jesus, remembering the Lord’s Last Supper, the Lord’s sufferings and crucifixion, and we rejoiced as we celebrated the Lord’s resurrection. Easter is such a wonderful celebration – the Lord reminds us of our own resurrection as we celebrate his resurrection. “The Lord is risen; He is truly risen.”

Then we spent six weeks of the Easter Season – our celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection. This becomes the time for us to prepare ourselves for the Pentecost, the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. At the Last Supper, Jesus promised that he would send the Holy Spirit, who would become our Advocate, our guide as we live each day in the way of our savior, the Lord Jesus.

St. Luke writes the story of the Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles. We are told that the apostles were gathered in the Upper Room. They were frightened – afraid to go into the streets, afraid to teach, afraid that they would be made to suffer as Jesus did. Then at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit comes to those apostles in wind and fire, making them ready to lay the foundation of our Church. The Holy Spirit transformed them; they were no longer afraid. They discovered a boldness like never before. They could no longer sit still. They were now ready to bring the message Jesus to others – his message of love and peace, the message of God’s love for all.

Now, this story is our story. The Holy Spirit is sent to us by our savior – the Holy Spirit comes to transform us. The Holy Spirit brings to us the same boldness as those original apostles received on the Pentecost. We receive the Holy Spirit in baptism and confirmation, and each time we receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

So, we celebrate our Pentecost – this most sacred holy day, the birthday of our Church. We believe that the Holy Spirit brings to us those gifts as Jesus promised. We are called to develop our Christian life with the Holy Spirit’s gifts, the gift of fortitude, wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, piety and of fear of the Lord. The power of the Holy Spirit leads us each day to witness to the Lord Jesus by our lives. As Christians we constantly demonstrate our happiness through God’s love for us.

The Holy Spirit brought a transforming boldness to those apostles, making them missionaries of the Lord Jesus. Today the Holy Spirit bring to us that same boldness, leading us a new life as today’s missionaries of our Church with a new spirit for all that we are called to accomplish by the Lord. Today, the Lord has a plan for each one of us, giving us the boldness of the Holy Spirit – a spirit for all of the Lord’s apostles through the centuries.

Our Christian vocation is to be missionaries now, right here, right where we are. It is our call to lead others to the Good News of Jesus. We are called to be witnesses of the Lord. Yes, others should see Jesus in us. The true miracle of our faith is that from those humble beginnings of the Church on that first Pentecost to this day of the magnificence of our Church throughout the world. The Holy Spirit stays with us and challenges us to be bold witnesses of the Lord.

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