ARE WE WITNESSES?
I’m so glad that today’s first reading (Acts 2:14, 22-33) immediately jumps to Pentecost after yesterday’s joy-filled Resurrection. As astounded as the apostles were to see Jesus alive and in the flesh after abandoning him during the Passion (although John hung around and ultimately was found at the foot of the Cross), it wasn’t until the Holy Spirit was sent to them that they finally could confidently and fearlessly exclaim “God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses” (v. 32).
It is sometimes said that the Holy Spirit is the “forgotten” or “neglected” person of the Trinity. Maybe it’s because He is not as easy to personalize as the Father and the Son. After all, a dove, or fire, or wind, as Scripture variously describes the Spirit, are admittedly challenging to relate to. Or maybe, because He is not quoted in Scripture, we don’t feel so connected with Him. But, Luke makes it plain through Jesus’ own words (see Lk 24:49 and Acts 1:4 not to mention repeatedly in John 14-16 – see here for a splendid overview of the Spirit in the Gospels) and the non-action of the Lord’s closest disciples for fifty days after Jesus’ rising, that the Holy Spirit was indispensable to them and is indispensable to us.
“We are witnesses,” Peter exclaims to the crowd after receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. Well, where were they the past seven weeks? Mainly in hiding or going back to their old jobs. Don’t you think they might have immediately been just a wee bit more enthusiastic to get the word out about the extraordinary (this seems to tame a word) event that brought their Master back to them? Wasn’t Christ’s appearance enough?
This is why, although we are Christians, we are not Christarians. We are Trinitarians. God, from all eternity, is three Persons. We need all three, must call on all three, and worship Him in all three. Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier. It is a great mystery, “the central mystery of Christian faith and life” (CCC 234). We will never get our minds around it (those great intellects who have attempted know better than to think they could; see St. Augustine and also here for a digestible primer), although I pray that all of us reading this will spend all eternity contemplating it and diving into its unfathomable depths.
The slogan, “We are Witnesses” has been used secularly to highlight important matters and to sell shoes. Regardless, are we witnesses in word and deed to what should be most important to us as Christians — our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Without the Holy Spirit we cannot be, at least not with power. Let us not forget or neglect the Spirit of Truth who, in our witness, “will teach you at that moment what you should say” (Lk 12:12).
Come Holy Spirit into our broken lives and broken world!
Easter Monday is a holiday in many countries. We don’t want Easter to end yet, anyway, so we! Check out this review of yesterday’s readings from Hahn and Bergsma.
I was eager to finally get into the second volume of Peter Seewald’s massive and definitive biography of Benedict XVI. I began this volume on the pope’s birthday a couple of days ago and have made it to page 88 (of 539). Maybe it’s the nerd in me, but I find it hard to put down. More so, I suspect my eagerness to devour this work is due to my reverence for the man. He is simply amazing. Astounding intellectual gifts and complete faithfulness to the Lord and His Church wrapped in a simplicity and humility that is a shining example for the rest of us who don’t approach his erudition or sanctity.
LENT NEVER ENDS
From time to time, I have incorporated certain Lenten practices year-round. Many years ago that was to not eat meat on any Friday throughout the year (setting aside Friday has never gone away). Later I extended that to Wednesdays. I treat these days each week as if were a Friday in Lent — so, aside from going meatless, any other practices I take up during Lent I apply to those two days a week for all fifty-two weeks of the year.
I challenge you to take at least one thing you did special during Lent and continue it for the rest of your life. We know the power of abstinence and fasting: and that is detachment from material goods to make us more open to spiritual goods. This is only day one post-Easter so consider beginning today for the good of your soul and the good of the world.