(Part 53)


May 18, 2015

Today’s reading:  Acts 19:1-8

There are those who believe in God but who do not know the Holy Spirit. Paul found some disciples in Ephesus and asked them, “‘Did you receive the holy Spirit when you became believers?’ They answered him, ‘We have never even heard that there is a holy Spirit.” (v.2). Sadly, many Catholics today also do not know the Holy Spirit (though they might have heard of Him). Since the Holy Spirit provides empowerment for the work of witnessing to Jesus to the ends of the earth, ignorance of the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives keeps most lay Catholics from living out their call to become evangelizers. Thus, many good Catholics who might be striving to live Christ actually might not do anything about sharing Christ.

Further, Catholics have been baptized sacramentally. A precondition is repentance and faith in Jesus, often expressed by godparents on behalf of the one to be baptized. Baptism cleanses us of original sin and with baptism we become Christians. “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” (v.4). In the sacrament of Baptism we receive the Holy Spirit. But there is often a need for a renewal of that experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Thus, as adults making their own decision, Catholic need to once again respond with repentance and faith, and then be prayed with for a renewed infilling of the Spirit. “And when Paul laid his hands on them, the holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” (v.6). This is the so-called baptism in the Holy Spirit. The coming of the Spirit is accompanied by the imparting of spiritual gifts, intended to equip the Christian community for the work of evangelization.

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