Psalm 115:1-2, 3-4, 15-16
God brings to fulfillment his plan of salvation through Jesus’ redemptive death. This plan is crowned by the coming of the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the new people of God and accomplishes the universal redemption of all nations.
This redemption is accomplished by the Spirit in different ways. On the one hand, the gift of saving grace is given through the Gift of the Holy Spirit. On the other, he is the Spirit of truth, who after Christ’s departure to the Father, preserves “among the disciples the truth which he had announced and revealed” (Saint Pope John Paul II, 17 May 1989). The essential task of Christ’s apostles and disciples is to remain in God’s truth and be led by the Holy Spirit to the knowledge of all truth (John 16:3). The Spirit bears witness to Christ and discloses the content of revealed truth within the Church, so that she may proclaim it to the whole world (Saint Pope John Paul II, 17 May 1989).
The Holy Spirit does not present another revelation apart from Christ, but rather recalls the words and deeds and saving mystery of Christ. The Spirit glorifies Christ and reveals what has already been said by Christ. “Thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, the Church not only recalls the truth, but remains and lives in the truth received from her Lord” (Saint Pope John Paul II, 17 May 1989).
The Spirit is man’s true Counselor; he is the Defender and Advocate of man, the Mediator who intercedes for us. He is the one who takes our side, even though we are guilty of sin; he defends us from the penalty due to our sins, and saves us from the danger of losing eternal life and salvation (Saint Pope John Paul II, 24 May 1989). To save the world, the Spirit convinces the world of sin and demonstrates the guilt of the world in rejecting Christ and turning its back upon God.
In the Acts of the Apostles, the Spirit empowers Paul and Barnabas to speak out boldly on behalf of Jesus the Lord. God confirms their word by granting signs and wonders to occur through their hands. The two apostles are persecuted by the people, but defended by the Holy Spirit, who moves them to flee to the cities of Lystra and Derbe, where they will again proclaim the Gospel. The Spirit is close to the Apostles when they must profess the truth, justify it and defend it. He himself inspires them and speaks through their words (Saint Pope John Paul II, 24 May 1989).
Like Jesus and Peter, Paul heals a crippled man, who believes in Jesus Christ. Paul and Barnabas have to react quickly to reaction of the people, who mistakenly equate them with Greek gods and want to offer sacrifice to them. The healing of the crippled man is not a proclamation of their divinity, but a confirmation of the truth of the Gospel message, namely, that the people should turn from pagan idols to the living God, who is the creator of all things. Creation speaks to all men and women of the one, true God’s goodness, beauty, power, and providential care.
Just as he opened the minds and hearts of those who heard Paul and Barnabas, so also the Spirit opens our minds and hearts to the mystery of God, who is at work in human history, and of his incarnate Son, Jesus Christ. In faith and through faith, we are guided by the Holy Spirit to the understanding of the Gospel and urged on by the Spirit to preach the Gospel to all men and women.
Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at email@example.com.