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People of Pentecost

By Leela Ramdeen, Chair, CCSJ & Director, CREDI

Today we celebrate the great Feast of Pentecost. We recall how, on the evening of His Resurrection, Jesus appeared in the locked upper room in Jerusalem where the disciples were gathered with Mary.

He said to them, inter alia: “Peace be with you”. He breathed on the disciples and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit”. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has said the Holy Spirit is “the first and principal gift that Jesus obtained for us through His Resurrection and Ascension into heaven.”

We are baptised and confirmed in the Holy Spirit. Let’s ask God to pour out His Spirit in all of us, so that, as St John Paul II said, “in that Spirit we shall indeed become the People of Pentecost, the apostles of our time.”

Remember the prayer of St Augustine: “Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.”

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us, to fill us with Wisdom – the first gift of the Spirit – so that we will follow the COVID-19 protocols and save ourselves, our families, our nation; help us manage this crisis.

As followers of Christ, we know that with God’s grace, we can be faithful, responsible citizens; citizens who are committed to building the common good.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples, He told them: “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” As baptised Catholics, we know that He is also sending us to do as Micah 6:8 states: “to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God”. This is what God asks of us.

We receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit for a purpose, to bear fruit; to become the living stones; to be the Body of Christ in the world.

Remember the Gifts and the Fruits of the Spirit? The Holy Spirit infuses in us seven gifts: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 1831).

And He fills us with 12 Fruits: Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Modesty, Self-control, Chastity. (CCC,1832, cf. Gal 5:22–23).


Fan into flames

Pope Francis tells us that the Holy Spirit “opens hearts that are closed. He impels the comfortable to go out and serve. He drives the self-satisfied to set out in new directions. He makes the lukewarm thrill to new dreams.”

Let the Holy Spirit influence our lives and help us to resist the temptations of the world e.g., drugs, alcohol, pornography, the gun culture.

Paul’s words to Timothy are worth remembering: “I wish to remind you, Timothy, to fan into flame the gifts in you, which you received on the day I laid my hands on you.” (2 Tim 1:6).

Let us commit ourselves today to fan into flames the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to us so that we can use this transforming power to build His Kingdom in T&T. Let us fan the gifts into flames as we strive to live holy, virtuous lives so that we can be prophetic witnesses of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit will give us the strength to be a leaven in society. We will become “the light of the world, the salt of the earth” (Mt 5:13–14).

And while we SEE-JUDGE-ACT to address the ills of our own society, the Holy Spirit calls us to be concerned about the social ills in our world.

For example, the tension in the Holy Land between Israel and Palestine. The conflict has gone on for decades but has now escalated with fear of all-out war. As the BBC states: “Peace talks have been taking place on and off for more than 25 years, but so far have not solved the conflict.”

Pope Francis has called for peace and a shared solution to the violence occurring in Jerusalem: “I pray that the city might be a place of encounter and not of violent clashes, a place of prayer and peace. I invite everyone to seek shared solutions, so that the multi-religious and multi-cultural identity of the Holy City might be respected, and that fraternity might prevail. Violence generates only violence.”

Let us pray for a just and lasting peace in Palestine and Israel.

The Church is duty-bound to offer, through the purification of reason and ethical formation, her own specific contribution towards understanding the requirements of justice and achieving them politically. (28)

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est

CCSJ Social Justice Education Committee