Sunday we celebrate Pentecost — when the Holy Spirit descends on the apostles, beginning their public ministry and thus marking the beginning of the church. It is said to be the second most important day in the church liturgical calendar. And it is an especially important feast for all of those who hope to lead like Jesus in all of their relationships.
Pentecost, you see, reminds us that in our endeavors to be Jesus-like S3 Leaders, we are not alone.
If you take your Christian leadership responsibilities seriously, this Sunday is a day to pay special attention to the readings. First, you will hear in Acts 2:1-11 of how the Holy Spirit comes to each and every person in the room — the apostles and others, including Jesus’ own mother, assuming all the people mentioned in the first chapter of Acts are on hand.
Then you will be reminded, in 1 Corinthians, that the same Spirit gives each of us different gifts — but all for the single purpose of serving the Lord because we are, in fact, one body. And it is Christ’s own body that we inhabit and share. (If you hear the alternate reading, Galatians 5:16-25, you will be reminded of the nine manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit — a subject worthy of your reflection, in any event, during the coming week.)
In either of the two Gospel readings you hear, Jesus will speak of sending his Spirit to be with us and to guide us always.
We get the impression that after Jesus ascended into heaven the apostles weren’t ready to begin their work. In fact, Jesus tells them they should wait for his Spirit before proceeding to try to “make disciples of all nations.” (Mt 28:19)
Maybe our individual purposes in life and leadership are not so expansive as the commission given to the apostles by Jesus. But clearly, in baptism, we are all called and commissioned to go forth and draw people closer to Jesus by what we say and what we do as we interact with everyone who crosses our path.
We all know how the shortcomings and hypocrisy of Christians discourage people, plant doubts in their hearts, and sometimes actually drive them away from a closer relationship with Jesus. What are we doing to draw people closer? What can we do?
When we consider only our own gifts, our answer would probably have to be, “Not much.”
But on Pentecost we are reminded that we never have to rely only on our own gifts. We can count on Jesus’ own Spirit to work through us if we our hearts are properly disposed, our heads are properly informed, our hands are properly extended, and our habits are chosen and cultivated to sustain our efforts.
From time to time this week, why not reflect on the nine manifestations of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit and silently invite the Spirit into your heart with these words of prayer:Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shalt renew the face of the earth.
Dr. Owen Phelps
Director, Yeshua Institute
Copyright © 2012 Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute, 208 E. North St., Durand, IL 61024. Any part of this newsletter may be reproduced so long as there is full attribution, our web site is listed, and any electronic reproduction includes a link to our site: http://www.yeshualeader.com.