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The Holy Spirit enabled them to proclaim
Fr. Peter Zhao Jianmin
After the passion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, His disciples were all scared and scattered. It was “when the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together”, “and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.”
As Christians and the disciples of Christ, we do believe in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and, as one person of the Trinity God, “through the Son and with the Father, immediately and before any vague and unfounded concept interposes between them, the Holy Spirit is also perceived conjointly.”(Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius 1 [A.D. 382]) It is evident that the Holy Spirit is equally important not only for the internal life of the Holy Trinity but also for the external life with the Christians, the disciples of Christ and the children of the Father. St Paul clearly says in his first letter to the Corintians, “no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit.”(12:3) If one cannot say Jesus is the Lord, how can he or she truly believe in God the Father, because as Jesus said “No one comes to the Father except through me.”(Jn 14:6) The Holy Spirit is in the core position on understanding the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father. We all know by heart the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. One of them is wisdom, but we need to remember the ancient Hebrew proverbs from the Old Testament, “the beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord”, “the fullness of wisdom is to fear the Lord.”(Sir 8:10, 16) Wisdom is the foundation for us to understand everything. Therefore, for Christians, we, driven by the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ the only Son of the Father, are to know God. It is in this way, we Christians can be sure the God we are knowing is not our imagination, is not our creation, is not our knowledge, so that we dare to say we believe in one God, who is not only a Being in term of philosophy but much more our Father in term of human relationship.
As Christians, we need to remember that it is when the time for Pentecost, that is when the time the disciples of Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit, they are all in one place together. It is the Holy Spirit that bound the disciples of Christ to be together as one. That is to say, without the Holy Spirit coming into our heart and our community, we will be certainly scattered. Jesus Christ the only Son of God the Father became man is to save human being to be in one with themselves and in one with God the Father as Jesus prayed to the Father before his passion “so that they may be one just as we are.”(Jn 17:11) By the prayer of Jesus, we might understand that only when the time of human race are to fear the Lord, that is to say, not scattered from God, human race can be united as one people together in the earth. Without fearing the Lord, that is in Chinese word 无法无天(without principle law and without heaven lord), human race can never be as one people. Scattered from God doomed to scatter human race and human society. However, to fear the Lord is not to be like a human race slavery, but, on the contrary, is to be like a children to a father. That is what we have just heard in todays second reading as St Paul clearly said in his letter to the Romans: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, 'Abba, Father!'” (Rom 8:14-15)
As Christians, therefore we are not scared by the Almighty, neither by any other mighty. We are not scared by the Almighty since we are always calling the Almighty “Abba, Father”. God is our Father. The Father has sent his only begotten Son to enable us to proclaim: God the Almighty is our Father. This proclaiming is quite different from other tongues. We are not slavery of the Almighty, we are not subject of the Almighty, we are the beloved children of the Almighty Father. Isn't this quite different tongues from any others? Therefore, whenever we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to proclaim: God is our Father. Besides, we are not scared by any other mighty since we are children of God and as St Paul said in today's second reading, “if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”(Rom 8:17) Then, what we will heir to? St Paul clearly told his disciple Titus, God “he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.”(Ti 3:5-7) Nevertheless, the eternal life in heaven and the present life in the earth cannot be separated. The present life in the earth is a dynamic progress which cannot be cut off at certain point to say after this point it is not a baby life or it is not a youngster life. Dynamic progress life is transforming from baby life to youngster life to elder life. This dynamic progress life cannot be cut off by one's death too. Death certainly is not the end of life, but a point of transforming to eternal life. That is, as St Paul said, “we will all be changed”(1 Cor 15:51) By faith, we can be sure, as followers of Jesus Christ, we will “receive back an overabundant return in this present age and eternal life in the age to come.”(Lk 18:30) The overabundant return in this present age that you will receive back is, as St Paul said, “not to rely on so uncertain a thing as wealth”(1 Tm 6:17), but “mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.” ( Jude 1:2)
So, let's pray that we are filled with the Holy Spirit so that we are not scared, not scattered and we are enabled to proclaim: God the Almighty is our Father.
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