Christians Don't Know Who They Are !

    An old beggar lay on his deathbed.  His last words were to his youngest son who had been his constant companion during his begging trips.  "Dear son," he said, "I have nothing to give you except a cotton bag and a dirty bowl which I got in my younger days from the junk yard of a rich lady." After his father's death, the boy continued begging, using the bowl his father had given him.  One day a gold merchant dropped a coin in the boy's bowl and he was surprised to hear a familiar clinking sound.  "Let me check your bowl," the merchant said.  To his great surprise, he found that the beggar's bowl was made of pure gold.  "My dear young man," he said, "why do you waste your time begging?  You are a rich man.  That bowl of yours is worth at least thirty thousand dollars."

    We Christians are often like this beggar boy who failed to recognize and appreciate the value of his bowl.  We fail to appreciate the infinite worth of the Holy Spirit living within each of us, sharing his gifts and fruits and charisms with us.  On this major feast day, we are invited to experience and appreciate the transforming, sanctifying and strengthening presence of the Holy Spirit within us.  

      The risen Lord gave the disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit which endowed them with peace and forgiveness. They must have been very unsettled as they locked themselves in the upper room, frightened that they themselves might be persecuted as Jesus was. When Jesus gave them peace, it was peace of mind and peace in their hearts with a mission to bring peace and mercy to the world. The peace and forgiveness he bestowed upon them, with the Holy Spirit, were not meant to stay shut up with them in a locked room. And so we, as modern-day disciples of the Lord, are called as well to bring peace and mercy and the Holy Spirit to the world.

    The way in which we each witness to the workings of the Spirit within us differs, for, as Paul writes, "there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone" (1 Cor 12:6). Though we are blessed with different gifts and led to different forms of service, all are in the service of the same God. Like the Christian community of Paul's time, our communities may see divisiveness and disagreement. Let us realize that what we have in common exceeds our differences, for we each have within us the Holy Spirit, who blesses us with the gifts that we each express in our own way.

    This is also a day to renew the promises made to God during our baptism and confirmation, to profess our faith, and to practice it.

In the Service of the Lord,
  Fr Thainese Alphonse


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