The readings today emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit. We can forget that we have been given all kinds of gifts from the Holy Spirit. And these gifts are designed to help us to grow in holiness by working to build the Kingdom of God. But, sometimes like Saint Peter the challenge can seem to be too great, too big. However, even though the problems we face may be great, the Holy Spirit is greater.
When I was in college, there was a program, popular in parishes and other settings, called “Life in the Spirit Seminars.” It was largely a program that encouraged people to participate in the charismatic renewal by highlighting the importance of a relationship with the Holy Spirit, and the reception of the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the New Testament by Saint Paul. The culmination of the program was to be “baptized in the spirit.”
But, then, yesterday, Pope Francis showed what spiritual leadership looks like. Reminding us that Jesus is close to us.
Going Behind the Word: In order to get a better sense of what Saint Paul is getting at in the second reading from this Sunday’s Mass, it is helpful to look at what he says before what we hear today. He goes to great lengths to contrast what it means to trust in human wisdom, the wisdom of this age, and the wisdom he preaches, which pierces God. Human wisdom causes us to love ourselves, but God’s wisdom invites us into the very depths of God’s being in love. Human wisdom may satisfy today, but God’s wisdom saves forever.
I do not think about the Holy Spirit often enough. The words from the book of Wisdom use such magnificent words to describe the Spirit: intelligent, holy, unique, Manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, certain. More important is how the Spirit can make true such amazing words to describe what God wants to do with each one of us. We have such tremendous potential when we hand our lives over to God. How can you know? ” For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” It is not the case that God is unwilling to help. It is that we must work to do all we can to embrace God’s love for each one of us. And when we do, we become more than we could ever imagine.