By his heroic death Jesus won the right to confer the holy Spirit to move mens' hearts. In his lifetime he had to watch those who did not understand walk away.

Sunday, 8/26/12

Thirty years ago I was pastor of a parish where the Charismatic movement was very strong. I was probably misjudging the group, but it seemed to me that they felt they had the Holy Spirit, and the rest of us didn’t. It got to be where us old-shoe Catholics didn’t even want to hear about the Holy Spirit.

However, today’s Gospel should convince us of the indispensable role of the Holy Spirit in out lives. We read, “Many of his disciples returned to their former way of life, and no longer accompanied him. Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you want to leave?’

Only the Apostles stayed with Jesus, and they stayed because, as Peter said, they had no better place to go.

Their state of mind that day was as wobbly as it was going to be after the death of Jesus when they were huddled in the upper room for fear of the people who killed Jesus. But on that later occasion the Holy Spirit came on them, and they threw off their fear, and they threw opened their doors, and they went out, ending that day with three thousand converts.

Three key New Testament passages trace the route by which the Holy Spirit came to them on Pentecost.

First passage: John, 7:38-39. “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture says, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from within him.” He said that in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him would receive. There was, of course, no Spirit yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” 

In his lifetime Jesus could not give people the Spirit to move them. But when he lay dead the angels and saints declared him worthy of dispensing the Spirit.

Second passage: Revelation, 5:12-13 “They cried out in a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength.’”

Third passage: Here. Peter on Pentecost tells the crowd how the Apostles came to be filled with the transforming Spirit. “Exalted at the right hand of God, Jesus received the promise of the holy Spirit from the Father and poured it forth as you see and hear.”

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