HOLY SPIRIT (Fr. Varghese Paul, S.J.)

HOLY SPIRIT (Fr. Varghese Paul, S.J.)

According to Ronald Brownrigg The Holy Spirit is the life and activity of God at work in the world of nature and also in and through people (Whos Who the New Testament, p. 257). Here we will see in a very limited way the Holy Spirit only in New Testament. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God of whom the angel said to Mary: The Holy Spirit will come on you, and Gods power will rest upon you. For this reason the holy child will be called the Son of God (Lk 1, 35).

The Holy Spirit is the same Spirit of God, whom Jesus at his baptism saw coming down like a dove and alighting on him (Mt 3, 16). This is the same Spirit of God who drives Jesus into the desert (Mk 1, 12). It is with this Holy Spirit that Jesus expels evil spirits, demons. (Mt 12, 28). In this last example Luke refers to the Holy Spirit as Gods power (Lk 11, 20).

John the Baptist acknowledges that he baptizes with water but Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire (Mt 3, 11). We see that the personal character of the Holy Spirit in the baptismal formula of Mathew 28, 19. The Jesuit bible scholar John L. McKenzie says, The listing of the three under the name is perhaps the most explicit declaration of the personal character of the Spirit in the entire N.T. (Dictionary of the Bible, p. 842)

The spirit in O.T. is impersonal. McKenzie says that The Spirit in Mathew and Mark is generally the O.T. spirit applied to the person and mission of Jesus (Dictionary of the Bible, p. 843). Reference to spirit is rare in the gospels according to Mathew and Mark. Before Pentecost the reference to the impersonal spirit is applied to the person of Jesus as we can see in Luke. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor (Lk 4, 18).

In the fourth Gospel according to John we get a clear teaching about the Holy Spirit. In his long discourse after Last Supper, Jesus promises his apostle to send them an advocate (paraclete) who will help them to understand everything after he has departed from them (Jn 14, 15-17).

Jesus says, I have told you this while I am still with you. The Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you (Jn 14, 25-26).

On the Sunday evening after his resurrection Jesus appeared to his disciples gathered behind closed doors and he breathed on them saying, Receive the Holy Spirit (Jn 20, 22). Commanding on this passage Ronald Brownrigg says that For John, Life in the Spirit begins at resurrection rather than at Pentecost (Whos Who the New Testament, p. 258).

According to Luke in Acts the apostles and believers who have gathered in one place received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak (Acts 2, 3-4). The Holy Spirit dominates the whole book of Acts.

The Holy Spirit transforms the apostles and other believers to become fearless witnesses of Jesus throughout the world (Acts 1, 8). The Pentecost marks the transformation of the disciples and the birth of the Church. The Holy Spirit present in Jesus during his life on earth now manifests himself in the Church.

Jesus had told the apostles not to worry about defending themselves as the Holy Spirit would teach them what to say when the time would come. (see Lk 12, 12). In the Acts the disciples experience the fulfillment of Jesus words in their lives. They experienced the power of the Holy Spirit from above. They were empowered by the Holy Spirit with the gifts like healing, prophecy. The Holy Spirit guide them in making important decisions (Acts 13, 2; 15, 28; 20; 28).

The Holy Spirit in the Acts is a dynamic force which moved the apostles to do great things. The weak apostles of the Gospels became dynamic and fearless preachers of Jesus after Pentecost as portrayed in the Acts.

In the very beginning of Christianity the first followers of Jesus were of Jewish origin. Then, Peter was moved to go to the Gentiles through a unique experience. Subsequently when Peter was speaking to the Roman centurion Cornelius and his household, the Holy Spirit came down on his listeners to the amazement to the Jewish believers. While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who were listening to his message. The Jewish believers who had come from Joppa with Peter were amazed that God had poured out his gift of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles also (Acts 10, 44-45).

The Church at Antioch was very much aware of the dynamic presence of the Holy Spirit in their midst. Luke wrote about it in the Acts. While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said to them, Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul, to do the work to which I have called them (Acts 13, 2).

Aware of the working of the Holy Spirit through them the apostles and the elders at the meeting at Jerusalem conveyed their decision through a letter to the Gentile believers which said, The Holy Spirit and we have agreed not to put any other burden an you besides there necessary rules (Acts 15, 28).

In St. Paul we see the Holy Spirit as the divine and heavenly dynamic force. This force exists in the risen Lord Jesus through his mystical body - the Church. The resurrected Jesus Christ is present and active in the Church through the Holy Spirit. Paul is aware of the Holy Spirit working through him. So in his second letter to Corinthians he writes, You yourselves are the letter we have, written on our hearts for everyone to know and read. It is clear that Christ himself wrote this letter and sent it by us. It is written, not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God (2 Cor. 3, 2-3).

The Spirit of the living God is the Holy Spirit. So Ronald Brownrigg says, To Paul this life in the Spirit meant the dwelling of Jesus within the Christian Heart (Whos Who the New Testament, p. 259).

For Paul the Holy Spirit is present not only in speaking tongues and in ecstasies but more so in normal life of faith and charity. So in his second letter to Thessalonians Paul prays for them, May the Lord lead you into a greater understanding of Gods love and the endurance that is given by Christ (2 Thes. 3, 5).

Speaking about the gifts from the Holy Sprit, Paul has elaborated them in his first letter to Corinthians. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service. The Spirits presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all. The Spirit gives one person a message full of wisdom, while to another person the same Spirit gives a message full of knowledge. One and the same Spirit gives faith to one person, while to another person he gives the power to heal. The Spirit gives one person the power to work miracles: to another, the gift of speaking Gods message; and to yet another, the ability to tell the difference between gifts that come from the Spirit and those that do not. To one person he gives the ability to speak in strange tongues, and to another he gives the ability to explain what is said. But it is one and the same Spirit who does all this; as he wishes, he gives a different gift to each person (1 Cor. 12, 4-11).

Writing this article on the Holy Spirit has been something like trying to empty the sea into a pond! (words 1402, contact the author: यह ईमेल पता spambots से संरक्षित किया जा रहा है. आप जावास्क्रिप्ट यह देखने के सक्षम होना चाहिए. )

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