“The promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they asked him, “Lord, are you going at this time to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (ACTS 1:4-6)
The disciples had been with Jesus for three years and Jesus spoke to them many times about the kingdom of God but never about the kingdom of Israel. It seems they still do not comprehend the purpose of the mission of Jesus, even as he is about to return to heaven. Their question reveals their desire that Israel be returned to its former glory, which was not the mission of Jesus.
Jesus patiently answers their question by telling them,
“It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8)
Even though the Apostles have not understood the mission to which they have been called, Jesus knows they will be able to fulfill that mission when they receive the Holy Spirit. That’s why Jesus said he must return to the Father so that they can receive the Holy Spirit.
After Jesus died on the cross the Apostles hid in the upper room because they were afraid of being arrested because they were followers of Jesus. However, when they received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost their fear left them, and they spoke with bold confidence about their relationship with Jesus. From that point, their mission and the life of the Church depended upon the presence of the Holy Spirit which enabled them to understand and accomplish what they could never do on their own.
Becoming A Part Of The Mystical Body Of Christ
It is for this reason that we are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit so that we might become members of his Church and the Mystical Body of Christ. We receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are necessary for us to discover and live the vocation that God has planned for each of us that will allow us to reach our potential for happiness in this life and for all eternity. For our part, we must:
- Pray daily
- Live the sacramental life
- Continue to be formed in our faith.
It is possible for us not to discover this plan if we do not let our faith influence the decisions we make.
Be A Family of Faith
The family is the first environment that makes it possible to discover the presence and love of God. There are many saints as well as clergy and religious who discovered their vocation at an early age because they prayed together as a family and shared their faith. At the same time, there have been many others who developed virtues in those early years which helped them to make good choices as they matured in life. Of course, there will always be trials because that is part of life on earth, but how we respond to trials depends upon our faith.
We live in very confusing times, especially for children. Many in our society are encouraging children to make life-changing choices even before they reach the age of reason. Without a strong family environment of prayer, faith, and communication many children can fall into a life pattern of desperation and hopelessness.
It is obvious that many teenagers are deeply troubled for many reasons, some psychological. However, violent music and violent entertainment, and some social media are certainly contributors. There are no easy answers, but love, prayer, communication, and supervision in the home will go a long way in addressing this issue.
We recognize threats to freedom, justice, and security that influential people are trying to fix but refuse to look to God for solutions, and they can’t be fixed without God. We can either allow this to overwhelm us, or we can focus on the things we can influence. We can make our home a domestic church, a place of prayer and refuge, and surround ourselves with things that are positive. We can focus on our own relationship with God and look for ways to deepen our faith. This will certainly bring peace and security to our families. When we read the lives of the saints, we see how God worked in the lives of those he called his friends. Even though they all endured trials of every sort they were filled with peace and happiness and God worked miracles through them. The witness of their lives was necessary for the continuation of the Church.
Take A Queue From the Apostles
The witness of our lives is also necessary. First, for our own happiness. There is no true, enduring happiness outside of a faithful relationship with God. We may find moments of pleasure that will eventually fade and lead to sadness if we separate ourselves from the grace of God. Secondly, our lack of faith will affect all the rest of our relationships including the Body of Christ. Everything we do has either a positive or a negative effect on the Body of Christ. Our existence is important.
No matter who we are or what we have done, we can all begin anew just as the Apostles did after Pentecost. If we, with a humble contrite heart, ask the Holy Spirit to bring new light into our life, he will gently guide us to Mother Church and her sacraments which make it possible for the Holy Spirit to live within us and guide us.
Because of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles were able to fulfill the mission to which they were called, and so can we.
Remember in your prayers all who have died defending our country.
Deacon Tom Fox, 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 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.