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Saturday, May 5, 2012

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Acts 13:44-52
Psalm 98:1-4
John 14:7-14

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life in the spirit

"The disciples could not but be filled with joy and the Holy Spirit." —Acts 13:52

Paul and Barnabas suffered "violent abuse" and were expelled from the territory of Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:45, 50). Most people react to abuse with anger, unforgiveness, or other forms of retaliation. We tend to attack the abuser physically or at least in court. However, Paul and Barnabas responded to the abusive treatment they suffered by being "filled with joy and the Holy Spirit" (Acts 13:52).

The Holy Spirit makes us holy. He transforms us and empowers us to act in godly ways. In the Spirit, we respond to evil with good (see Rm 12:21), to violence with forgiveness, and to rejection with love. The Holy Spirit can take someone like Philip, who Jesus said didn't even know Him (Jn 14:9), and turn him into a missionary-martyr-saint. The Spirit can turn a fearful man like Peter into the preacher of Pentecost, the first Pope, and a glorious martyr. The Spirit can take us in our selfishness and compulsions and make us loving, pure, and free.

On the first Easter evening, Jesus breathed on the apostles and said: "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20:22). The Father and Jesus continue to give us the Spirit. Receive the Holy Spirit now and live a new life.

Prayer:  Father, where there is hatred, let me give love, and where there is injury, pardon (from the Prayer of St. Francis).

Promise:  "I solemnly assure you, the man who has faith in Me will do the works I do, and greater far than these." —Jn 14:12

Praise:  Jose suffered extreme weakness as a result of an industrial accident. He goes to daily Mass anyway and his strength is returning.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Holy Spirit our Hope on audio AV 81-3 or video V-81.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 31, 2011

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