Today is Pentecost Sunday. For most people, the Holy Spirit may seem abstract and elusive, and they may feel they have no special connection with Him. However, when we see in the Bible how the power of the Holy Spirit influenced the early Christian communities and believers of that time, don't we also desire to live in the Holy Spirit? But how do we establish a relationship with the Holy Spirit?
"As the Father has sent me, so I send you. Receive the Holy Spirit!" (John 20:21-22)
In today's Gospel, Jesus reminds us that the Holy Spirit has a special role in our lives, which is related to the concept of being "sent" just as we are sent on a mission. Therefore, it is natural that someone lacking a sense of mission as a Christian would find it difficult to establish a relationship with the Holy Spirit.
As followers of Christ, we are all sent to proclaim the Gospel, and the driving force behind spreading the Good News should be love — love for God and love for the people whom God loves. The Holy Spirit is the love shared by the Father and the Son, and naturally, He should have a close relationship with those who are dedicated to spreading the Gospel.
We are invited to participate in God's salvific plan and continue the unfinished work of Jesus Christ on earth. This is a task that cannot be accomplished by human strength alone! Therefore, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to empower us with the grace of God, enabling us to fulfill the mission that we cannot accomplish by our own abilities. Indeed, it is only through the Holy Spirit that we can sustain and more effectively fulfill the mission entrusted to us by our Heavenly Father.
Although all Christians have a common mission, each one of us is a unique creation of God with different charisms and roles. Therefore, we also have different callings, and we are called to fulfill our mission of proclaiming the Gospel in different ways. Thus, we should not blindly imitate the ways of others, but rather discern and recognize God's will for each of us. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, and the Father desires to reveal His mind and will to us through the Holy Spirit.
In summary, the Holy Spirit is our enlightener as well as enabler in living out our Christian identity and fulfilling our unique missions. The Holy Spirit provides us with tailor-made keys and shortcuts. With the Holy Spirit, we can achieve more with less effort, but without the Holy Spirit, our efforts may yield limited results.
However, there is a key to successfully cooperating with the Holy Spirit, and that is to be willing to take risks for the work of God. Being willing to take risks for God requires unwavering faith in Him. We often say that we want God to increase our faith, but our actions often reveal the opposite desire. For example, we demand multiple assurances and guarantees in everything before we are willing to surrender to God's plan and accomplish the work He wants to carry out through us. On the surface, we may claim that we want to clearly discern God's will, but deep down, it is actually a manifestation of lack of faith.
The more we can let go of the need to have full clarity and knowledge, the more we can swiftly respond to the prompts of the Holy Spirit and allow the Spirit to empower us to accomplish what we as humans cannot achieve nor comprehend. This is the best way we can increase and perfect our trust in the Lord. This desire to trust more and more in the Lord won't happen in a vacuum, but only through our willingness to offer our understanding and our will to God, and allow Him to lead and to work miracles in us even when it does not make sense by human standard. Scary? Yes, it is, initially. But like any skill we acquire in life, practice makes perfect. This "leap of faith muscle" will be strengthened with practice and will eventually become our second nature. At that time, we will no longer demand full assurance from God before we surrender our will to God in order to heed His voice and to let the Spirit take us to new heights and bear fruits we have never imagined!