Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, priest
(Acts 20:17-27; John 17:1-11a)
Today’s patron saint, Philip Neri, characterizes the joy of the Holy Spirit. Philip enjoyed talking with regular people about the Lord. His natural good humor made him attractive to others. But he was not just a chatterbox. It is said that he had the Socratic gift of leading others to a deeper awareness of truth. When his listeners made new insights about how to improve their ways of living, Philip would pose the question. “Well, brothers,” he asked, when shall we begin to do good?”
But the Spirit is not only about living together happily. It also calls people to hard truths and even to suffering. In today’s first reading St. Paul relates how the Holy Spirit is compelling him to go to Jerusalem. Paul is aware that imprisonment awaits him there. He knows how he has stirred up Jewish enmity. First, he converted to Christianity and then he has disputed Jewish doctrine. Is the Spirit leading him to execution in likeness to Christ?
We are now preparing for Pentecost, the great feast of the Holy Spirit. Since the Spirit comes as a rich and varied gift, we should want to witness its arrival. We pray that it will set fast on us. We ask the Father that through the Son, the Spirit may lift us up in joy. We also ask that it confirm us with patience and peace. Most of all, we beg that it set us on fire with its love.