Empowered by the Spirit by Fr Jerry Orbos SVD

Sunday Moments in Inquirer (2015)

The story is told about a man who looked sad and forlorn on his birthday. When a friend asked him why, he said: “My brother forgot to greet me today. He also forgot to do so last year.” The friend said: “That’s OK. Even siblings forget each other’s birthdays.” Whereupon the man said: “Oh, yeah? But he’s my twin brother!”

The Pentecost is the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, and also the birthday of the Church! Let us not forget the tremendous gift the Risen Lord has given unto us—His Holy Spirit. Let us not forget also that the Lord has called us to belong to a community, to do our mission.

In the Gospel (Jn. 20, 19-23), He, the Risen Lord, empowered His disciples with His Holy Spirit, and sent them on a mission. Empowerment is from above, and it is meant to be shared with others. We miss the point when we amass power and wealth for ourselves and for our own selfish agenda instead of using them for God’s Kingdom.

* * *

“Peace be with you.” This is the Lord’s assurance to us who are called and sent on a mission in spite of our unworthiness and inadequacies. The Lord tells us to be at peace, and not to worry about so many things. Let us not be disturbed by anything or by anyone as long as we do God’s will, and as long as we obey His orders for us. If we are clear about our mission, we need not be swayed by obstacles, trials, failures, persecutions, and even public opinion. It is Jesus whom we serve, nothing more, nothing less.

* * *

“Receive the Holy Spirit.” We are not alone in our mission, and we rely above all on God’s grace and provisions, not so much on worldly wisdom, power, resources and connections. “Come, Holy Spirit!” This is our constant prayer and petition, deeply aware that without Him, we are nothing. Without Him, we can become proud or vain. Without Him, we can become easily discouraged or so focused on the outcome and results, and forget that we are disciples with a Master. Remember, mission is all about God, and it’s all done through Him, with Him and in Him.

* * *

During a sharing session in our recent Marian pilgrimage, a pilgrim said that all these years, he thought he was a lucky man. But now, he said, he has realized that he is more than lucky—he is blessed! In humility, he asked for forgiveness from God for the times he felt proud of his so-called achievements, and for the times he forgot to acknowledge God’s generosity in his life. May we never forget humility at any point in our lives, and may we always be grateful to God.

* * *

Last May 20, we were scheduled for a 10 a.m. Mass in one of the side chapels at the Lourdes Sanctuary. But when we got there, we found another group occupying it. Instead of getting upset, we just let it go and did not make an issue of it. And guess what? Those in charge let us use the main chapel of the Basilica for our Mass! It was a great lesson on humility and trust in God. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we took the road of humility. Yes, when we go the extra mile, and make the extra smile, grace abounds.

* * *

Please remember that when you get upset by anything or by anyone, you get set up by the evil one. If we live in the Spirit, we can take everything in stride, strengthened by the thought that everything happens for a purpose, and inspired by the hope and belief that God does make all things beautiful in His time. We need to listen more to God. Yes, we still have much to learn in our journey to God’s heart.

* * *

In another of our sharing sessions, someone pointed out that in prayer, it is better to have a heart without words than to have words without a heart. More and more, we need to listen to God, and to really listen to Him with our hearts. Praying in the Spirit means allowing God to talk to us, instead of us talking to God. Yes, let us leave room for the Spirit to operate. Let us not stifle the Holy Spirit. Let go, let God, and just let be.

* * *

It is the material world that often stifles the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Let me share with you the “Six Principles of Life” that can set us free from the bondage of money, as shared earlier by Doctors Mike and Connie Alfiler: “No point in using limited life to chase unlimited money; no point in earning so much money for which you cannot live long enough to spend; money is not yours until you spend it; no point in using your health to gain wealth, and using your wealth to regain health; happiness is not in having much but in having little needs; no point in working so hard to provide for people with whom you have no time to spend.”

* * *

Think about this: “Life is not measured by the years we have lived but by the love we gave; not by the possessions we have acquired but by the joys we have shared; not by the lofty titles we have received or by the money in our pockets, but by the happiness and help we spread.” 

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, remind us that without the Holy Spirit, we are nothing and can do nothing. Amen.

Books from Logos Publications of the Divine Word Missionaries available online

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