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The WORD in other words (2022) by Fr Aris Martin SVD – USA

Tuesday 6th Week of Easter

My first ambition was to become a good lawyer (Abogado in Ilocano, Ad vocatus in Latin), to defend others. However, having some lawyers who readily sacrificed others to defend themselves, I tried priesthood, hoping that as a priest, I would always protect others, especially the vulnerable and broken. But like lawyers, priests can be self-absorbed, forgetting that what gives meaning to any ministry or any profession is the resolve to forget oneself and defend the other.

Japanese writer Kosuke Koyama wrote that false gods save themselves; the true God, however, saves others. In the same way, a true Christian puts others first before oneself, not that one does not care about oneself, but because one knows that God will defend those defending others. This God, our Advocate, is the Holy Spirit. Paraphrasing Jesus, “As I go back to the Father, open your life to this Advocate, do your ministry of defending others, and God will do his share in defending you.”

This is what happened to Paul and Silas in the first reading. Their preaching the good news was their way of defending others, practically forgetting the consequences of what they were doing. They ended up in prison, but the Advocate did its share by “shaking the ground” and made the jailer realize the need to be saved. “Be open to the Spirit, your Advocate, and you and your household will be saved.”

The Holy Spirit, the breath of our life, is the One who can defend us more than we can defend ourselves. Paradoxically, the Spirit is also the One who inspires us in defending others. “Come Holy Spirit, we need you. Descend upon us so that we may have the energy to protect others, and together with Jesus, we will ascend to the Father.”

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