In the Upper Room, at the last supper, before Jesus was to begin his passion, he said to his disciples,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)
At the last supper, Jesus prepares his disciples for the mission of the Church. Up until this time, everything depended upon the teaching and miracles of Jesus as he fulfilled the Father’s plan for the salvation of the world. And now Jesus is telling them that the work of salvation will continue through them and the Church when they receive the promise of the Father, the Advocate, and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus also said,
“But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)
It is at this same time that Jesus institutes the priesthood and the Eucharist, which are essential for the mission of the Church to bring the true presence of Christ to the whole world until the end of time. At each Mass, the Holy Spirit makes present to those in attendance the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus Christ is present in the person of the priest, in the proclamation of the Word of God, in those who are assembled to worship God and par excellence in the Holy Eucharist. Out of love for those who believe in him, through the power of the Holy Spirit, bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ so that we may be one with him.
A Significant Contribution
Ever since the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples at Pentecost, the Church has had a powerful influence on the world. It survived persecution that tried to destroy it and became a major factor in the development of education, medicine, science, social justice, the sacredness of the family, and care for the poor.
Of course, the Holy Spirit is not only about the institutional presence of God; it is primarily about the powerful witness of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the saints through the ages and in each of us who believe. At baptism, we became children of God and received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This reality has made it possible for us to have an intimate relationship with God that will enable us to discover the plan he has for each of us that will fulfill our purpose for being on this earth.
Complete Trust in God
How do we make the Holy Spirit active within us? We must have a humble, contrite heart.
“Like a dry tree which puts forth shoots when watered, the soul bears the fruit of holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit. Although the Spirit never changes, the effects of his action, by the will of God and in the name of Christ, are both many and marvelous.” – St. Cyril of Jerusalem.
It is the desire of God to create a marvelous work in each of us. When we surrender ourselves to the plan of God, he will accomplish things in and through us that we cannot do on our own. God commands us to do what we can only do with his help. To love God and our neighbor more than ourselves requires the help of God’s grace. To be able to forgive the deepest violations and injustices can only be accomplished with God’s help, which he gives us in abundance through the sacraments. Our greatest happiness will be realized when we put our total trust in God and allow the Holy Spirit to influence the decisions we make.
Deacon Tom Fox, C.K.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Commander Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.