Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
(Acts 22:30.23:6-11; John 17:22-26)
Often when feeling criticized, we go on the offensive. We search for impressive words that show off our wit and put down the critics. Surely this is a foolish strategy. We would do better to listen carefully to what others are saying, pray to the Holy Spirit for prudence, and speak forthrightly what comes to mind. Jesus tells us to do as much when he says, “'When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.’”
In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles Paul follows Jesus’ advice. He evaluates the situation and speaks to it. His reference to being a proponent of the resurrection of the dead divides his persecutors. What starts as a conspiracy to condemn Paul turns into a debate with half the assembly supporting him. The Holy Spirit is the driving force behind this and all apostolic activity in Acts of the Apostles. He brings Christianity from its humble origins in Jerusalem to center stage in Rome where it will fan out throughout the whole world.
The Holy Spirit is God’s immeasurable gift of Himself to us. The Spirit enlightens our minds and orders our wills so that we too might manifest God’s love to the world.