Acts 2:1-11; 1 Cor.12: 3-7,12-13; John 20:19-23
Today God takes this fearful group of disciples by strong winds and fiery acts and brings them peace and comfort. The Holy Spirit descends as fire on the disciples, gathered in the upper room with Our Lady. The fire ignites the public life of the Church. In the reading from Acts, the disciples announce the word of God publicly to all who will listen, in all languages. Everyone understands in his own language. We see in this how the Holy Spirit brings understanding, harmony and happiness.
Amid the apostles’ fear, Jesus comes and says, “Peace be with you.” In effect: ‘I am with you and the Spirit will be with you.’ This is the Paraclete. Advocate, Comforter, Helper, a Spirit who remains at our side, like Jesus with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The Spirit brings gifts that bear fruit.
These gifts are Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord (Awe). The Fruits of these gifts are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are observable in a person’s life. When we show these, we are Christ’s presence, Christ’s Peace wherever we are. Peace is the key.
The Holy Spirit always speaks in peace, not in discord and turmoil, not in fear – in the family, the community, in the Commonwealth, the Church. If we are cooperating with the Holy Spirit, we manifest harmony, gratitude, peace. A Harvard professor speaks of this in the age of Covid 19: “Some of the most powerful strategies to flourishing in a crisis are borne out of spirituality…. A perception that there is a greater reality than the material world… Gratitude, a spiritual emotion, is known to reduce anxiety and depression. The simple act of counting one’s blessings for few minutes each day can significantly reduce stress and sadness over time [examen, mindfulness]. Indeed, there is so much to be grateful for even during this crisis, such as running water, electricity.…Briefly focusing on these and other positive facets of life on a daily basis can improve your own state of mind and create resilience” [fortitude]. This another way of talking about cooperating with the Holy Spirit, the comforter, who brings peace.
When we cooperate with the Holy Spirit, we show these to all we meet in person and even those we meet on social media. They’ll know we are Christians by our love. Even NBC’s Lester Holt now ends his evening broadcast with: “Take care of yourself and each other.” Peace to you and Happy Birthday to us!