As we near the end of the fifty-day Easter season, we look forward to receiving the Holy Spirit in a new way this Pentecost. When the Spirit comes, He will bear witness for Jesus. He will expect us to bear witness as well (see Acts 1:8).
When we witness for Jesus, we will lead many to Christ and transform the world. However, not everyone will accept our witness. Some will reject Jesus and reject us. Some will even persecute us by expelling us from our churches and putting us to death (Jn 16:2). In doing this, they will claim to be serving God (Jn 16:2). Thus, the word in Greek for "witness," which originally meant "someone who testifies in court," came to be the word for "martyr." So when we receive the Holy Spirit, we become witnesses, that is, martyrs.
A typical Christian might want to be filled with the Holy Spirit, but does not want to be a martyr. However, the two go together. The cost of Pentecost is the cross of martyrdom. We will refuse or stifle the Spirit (1 Thes 5:19) unless we accept martyrdom. Decide to be a martyr-witness. Receive the Holy Spirit.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from April 1, 2008 through May 31, 2008.
†Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 23, 2007.