“Receive the Holy Spirit” By: Melanie Blaszczak, Fiat Ventures

Pentecost Sunday

One of my favorite age-groups to work with is middle schoolers. Their awkwardness, quirkiness, and love for life always seem to inspire me. They love learning about God the Father and Jesus, but the Holy Spirit is a little harder for them to grasp. In their preparation for Confirmation, I see it every year where the teacher starts approaching this topic with them and they seem to wander in their thoughts. The teacher desperately tries to explain that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity and that he can appear as fire, wind and a dove. And then all I see around the room is raised eyebrows as these future Confirmation Candidates try to grapple with who the Holy Spirit is.  But how many times do we also struggle with who the Holy Spirit is and where He fits into our lives?

This week’s readings definitely challenge every person to think about the Holy Spirit in a new way. Especially in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we see that the disciples were all hiding from those who put Jesus to death, afraid for their lives trying to cope with the loss of their teacher, friend and brother. And then “suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire…” 

These fearful men who were cowering have now received the Holy Spirit. And this is where the disciples understood that Jesus was faithful to his promise of never leaving them without a helper, the Holy Spirit. And we see these fearful men leave the upper room transformed and filled with courage.

Just like disciples and my favorite middle schoolers, we sometimes struggle to understand that the Holy Spirit lives within each one of us. The disciples may have had a more visible sign, but for all of us He is still the advocate, the helper, and the giver of life. The same Spirit who we received during Baptism and Confirmation, the same Spirit who came to those disciples some 2,000 years ago, is the same Spirit that moves in our lives every day. And He comes to transform, challenge, and reorient us back to the Father.

This week, why don’t we all, on the birthday of our magnificent Church, pray together to the Holy Spirit to come and renew the face of the Earth. And to personally renew and transform our hearts so that we may be filled with love, courage and joy just as the disciples were back then. And let this be our hope, that we may never feel truly alone because Jesus is always faithful to His promises and we have the spirit of God living within our hearts.  So come Holy Spirit and set our hearts ablaze!

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