Be Brave, Be Bold for the Lord

John 15:26—16:4a
Acts 16: 11-15 / Ps 149

When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—He will testify about me. And you also must testify…
(John 15:26)

Give me courage to testify
On behalf of my Lord Jesus Christ;
For my sake He was crucified,
For that it’s just a small sacrifice.

(Jesus said to His disciples,) “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—He will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning… All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. (John 15:26-16:4a)

Reflection

As Jesus predicted, when the Holy Spirit (Advocate) came on Pentecost after our Lord had ascended into heaven, the apostles “began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim” (Acts 2:4). And when Peter, the foremost apostle, gave witness to the truth about Jesus Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit worked so powerfully in him that about three thousand people accepted his message and were that day converted and baptized (Acts 2:41). This was the same Peter who, just a few days earlier, denied His Lord and Master three times, and hid himself in fear of the Jewish authorities. The Holy Spirit had completely transformed him and the other apostles into men of strong faith, and were now boldly proclaiming the Good News of Jesus without fear of persecution.

In the Gospel accounts we have learned that the Spirit of God was present in all the stages of our Lord’s life, from the time He was conceived, in His baptism, mission works, and finally, in His resurrection. Jesus said, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, therefore He has anointed me.” (Luke 4:18) “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38) As Jesus promised, we can also have the Holy Spirit present in our lives if we diligently follow all His commandments of love. Then we can enjoy all the fruit of the Spirit, like joy, love, wisdom, patience, peace of mind, and a strong faith, filled with courage and boldness.

“Be Brave and be Bold.” I once met a Korean pastor named Kim who had set up a small church in the northern Muslim sector of Maguindanao province (remember Mamasapano?) He was thousands of miles away from home in a land inhabited by people even farther removed from his own religion, language and culture. He made our own outreach in Mati City seem like a prayer meeting in a nearby neighborhood. I inquired what drove him to go on his dangerous mission. In broken English, he related how Fundamentalist Muslim missionaries from Libya and Saudi Arabia have been very active in propagating their anti-Christian brand of Islam in Southern Mindanao, and he was doing his small share of countering their belligerent influence. I couldn’t resist asking, “Are you not afraid for your life in this mission among Muslims?” He looked at me as if a father to his child and said, “Why be afraid when the Holy Spirit with me?” Felt like biting my tongue off.

Father most loving, thank You for the presence of Your Holy Spirit in our daily life. Thank You for all the gifts that He has given us. May we use all of them for propagating the ideals of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus, for winning souls to Your kingdom, and for the praise and glory of Your Holy Name. To Jesus through Mary we humbly pray, Amen.

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