Today is the Feast of the Holy Spirit.
- This is the day when the Holy Spirit wrote the 10 commandments on tables of stone after the children of Israel came to Mt Sinai.
- This is the day when the Holy Spirit strengthened the spines of the Apostles so that they boldly and fearlessly proclaimed Christ—unafraid of jail, persecution, harassment, or death.
- This is the day when the Holy Spirit reversed the Tower Babel—when He fused many different languages into one preaching, one faith, one baptism, one Gospel.
- This is the day when the Holy Spirit burned away doubt and warmed the hearts of many.
- This is the day when the Holy Spirit confirmed the faith of Christ in thousands from different races, ages and genders.
- This is the day when the Spirit of God opened eyes to see Truth, to know Truth, to embrace Truth.
And this is the day when the Holy Spirit united 3000 different people into one Church; when the Holy Spirit made a home for the Father and the Son in each one of these 3000.
Think of that. 3000 baptized.
- The same 3000 who cheered for Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem 60 days before.
- The same 3000 who quickly became disillusioned because Jesus was not the King Messiah they wanted.
- The same 3000 who turned on Jesus and shouted for His crucifixion 6 days later.
- The same 3000 who had heard rumors of Jesus’ resurrection but wouldn’t believe what they heard.
These 3000 were no different than you and me. They were
- waiting for God to come through;
- waiting to be rescued from own own self-serving passions;
- waiting to see the world in a better, more real way;
- waiting to be less anxious, less stressed, less afraid, less burdened
And the wait is worth it. Because when these women and men finished their 9 a.m. prayers,
- They saw God in the tongues of fire,
- They heard God from the mouth of the Apostles,
- They felt God in the rushing mighty wind.
They saw, heard, and felt not just the idea of God, not the idea that there is a god. The 3000 felt, heard, and saw God Himself; His Spirit; His moving, active, life-giving, nurturing Person.
And the 3000 had, altogether, as one, the same response: How can that Spirit deliver God into me; so that I’m comforted, and supported, and made as fearless like those 12? How can I have that Love which is so alive in those Apostles? How can I get what they’ve got?
Peter’s reply: Be baptized. Then chrismated. And then follow us to the Eucharist, to the breaking of the bread.
Listen again to Peter’s reply, in different words: “Make your repentance real. Don’t just say you love God. Rub off your need to gratify yourself. Let self-love be replaced with the Love that God is. Love what the Lord says more than you love yourself.
“And so let the Holy Spirit graft and implant you in Christ Himself, in His flesh and in His bones. Partake of His Divine Nature so that He can transform you into an adopted child of God. Let the Spirit draw you more and more into Him, in the same way that He attracted you to experience and perceive the desire for Truth. Let God’s Spirit re-calibrate and realign your spirit, so that you now see clearly what is good, and beautiful, and true; and so that you live unafraid of anything.”
That reply is the foundation of the Church of the Apostles. Because it comes from the Apostles.
And the 3000 who believed it, who embraced it—they were the first “members” of this Apostolic Church, molded into one entity by the Spirit from folks of every different race, culture, and place.
That Church of the Apostles continues today. The gates of hell have not brought it down, or damaged it, or changed in into something else. That Church of the Apostles continues—because the basic reply of the Apostles remains: Be baptized; be confirmed in the faith of Jesus; and consume God’s own Body and Blood in Holy Communion.
Now, when we enter deeply into this common union; when we let go of our worries, doubts, and hangups; when we welcome the Promise not as a future hope but as a present reality; in other words, when we get out of the way of the Holy Spirit, and let Him carry us along in the Way which is Christ—then we begin to see that what matters most is the kindness, the compassion, and the love of Jesus that we get to live toward everyone, because the Spirit has given us the faith of Jesus. Not our faith; not faith in Jesus; not Jesus’ faith in us. The Holy Spirit gives us Jesus’ own faith, which displaces our hunches and supplants our vague notions.
Jesus’ own faith being what you actually believe—that is what the Holy Spirit gives and delivers.
And that faith of Jesus creates a boldness so that hope is not shaken, and charity does not grow cold. In turn,
our faith is nobler and stronger because sight has been replaced by a Truth whose authority is accepted by believing hearts, enlightened from on high. This faith was increased by the Lord’s ascension and strengthened by the gift of the Spirit; it remains unshaken by chains and imprisonment, exile and hunger, fire and ravening beasts, and the most refined tortures ever devised by brutal persecutors. Throughout the world women no less than men, tender girls as well as boys, give their life’s blood in the struggle for this faith. It is a faith that drives out devils, heals the sick and raises the dead. (St Leo)
That’s the faith the 3000 saw and wanted; what they were looking for; and what they received when they were baptized. “Their lukewarm hearts were fired by the light of faith and began to burn within them.”
And we have received the same faith of Jesus.
For like the 3000, we have been given the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and fortitude, of knowledge and piety, and the Spirit of the fear of the Lord—that is, we now have the awe-inspiring Spirit that lets us see how marvelous our Lord truly has been and continues to be; to whom, with the Father and His only-begotten Son, belongs all glory, honor, and worship: throughout all ages of ages.