Accepting the Holy Spirit

John 3: 31-36
Acts 5:27-33 / Psa 34

. . . he who is of the earth is earthly, and speaks of earthly things. But the One who comes from heaven is above all.
(John 3:31)

May the gift of the Holy Spirit be
A testimony of His love,
So others may see how trustworthy
Is “the One Who comes from above.”

Jesus said, “He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly, and speaks of earthly things. But the One who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what He has seen and heard, but no one accepts His testimony. Whoever accepts His testimony certifies that God is true. For the One whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration His gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things to Him. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.”

Reflection

In today’s First Reading, St. Peter boldly faced the Sanhedrin, and filled with the Holy Spirit, said, “The God of our ancestors raised Jesus (from the dead), though you had Him killed . . . We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit Whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:30,32). All the Pharisees in the Sanhedrin seethed in anger and wanted to kill them. Unlike the apostles, these religious leaders of the Jews obviously had no portion of the Holy Spirit in them.

Those who take pride in their own power or abilities, usually choose to follow a way apart from God’s will. Their ways are earthly, and their choice inevitably leads to death — a spiritual death that poisons the heart and shrivels the soul until nothing is left but an empty shell devoid of love, truth, peace, and joy.

Why can’t so many people see how short life here on earth is? Why can’t they realize the simple message of God in Scriptures that eternal life is the real goal of every man, and his short span of life in this world is merely a staging area for the real life? God has already gone to so much trouble to show us the way to Him — becoming man, suffering and dying for our sins to set the example, and leaving enough volumes of inspired writings about His Word to prove His point. We just can’t go wrong with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Even in this present age, there are still many “Pharisees” among us. Unbelief in this materialistic age has become commonplace even though God has already provided enough proof that faith is the answer, hope is eternal, and love is the way to eternal life. What more must God do for our sakes? How fortunate we are that God still keeps knocking on our wooden, stubborn hearts.

In this season of Easter, the Scripture readings highlight the message that our Lord Jesus imparted to his disciples before He ascended into heaven: God the Father has poured His Spirit in full measure on those who have chosen to believe. As the Spirit empowered the apostles and revealed God’s truth to them, so does He enable us to receive His gifts and understand God’s Word. The choice is never a hard one to make: everlasting life or oblivion.

Father in heaven, pour out Your Holy Spirit in full measure, so that we may employ His gifts for the glory of Your kingdom here on earth, and live according to all Your decrees. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

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