Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter
(Acts 19:1-8; John 16:29-33)
The Greek father St. Gregory of Nazianzus wrote that the Old Testament reveals God the Father clearly but only dimly God the Son. He further said that the New Testament features God the Son but the Spirit has only a minor role. He concluded that in the Age of the Church -- which is now -- the Spirit is made manifest. Today’s reading from Acts underscores the lack of knowledge of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ time.
How the people learned of Jesus without awareness of the Holy Spirit is somewhat of a mystery. Could they have been taught by a disciple of Jesus who had to leave him before the latter’s going up to Jerusalem? From the inconsistent list of apostles, exegetes speculate that people were continually joining and leaving Jesus’ company. In the reading the disciples show remarkable willingness to receive the Spirit in Baptism which is more than the sign of a washing, but of a whole new life.
Unfortunately many in our midst have no real appreciation of the Holy Spirit. They simply do not realize that it is the Spirit who alters our humanity. The Spirit like genetic engineering makes us into a new kind of creature capable of loving indiscriminately. As we pray to the Father and to the Son, we should ask the Holy Spirit daily to make his transformative presence felt within us.