The Presence of the Holy Spirit

05-09-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

We have a unique episode in the Acts of the Apostles today. A whole roomful of people are baptized with the Holy Spirit before they are baptized with water! The verb used—“the Holy Spirit ‘fell’ on them” (Acts 10:44)—is characteristic of the way the Spirit works throughout the book of Acts: powerful and surprising. Though this “baptism” is not the normative way the New Testament describes baptism, it is still a good reminder today that the Holy Spirit is not controlled by whether or not we pour water, but rather that our sacramental signs reveal the presence of the Spirit at work among us.

We have a double reinforcement of how this work is accomplished from a Letter and a Gospel bearing John’s name. It is love, self-sacrificing and self-giving love, that manifests the Spirit of Jesus in our midst. It is love that is the greatest of commandments. The Spirit is manifested equally through those who live in that love.