Love welcomes, and invites, and heals. Therefore, it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are invited and ultimately brought into the very life of God. Your life in God, into which you have been called and towards which you are growing, is entirely dependent on the action of the Holy Spirit in your life. Without the Holy Spirit we can do…nothing. The words of Jesus from the gospel according to John put it this way:
‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ (John 3:5-10)
This is the age of the Holy Spirit, given to us to guide and heal us in this ‘interim’ time as we prepare for the second coming of Christ. These are the end times. By this, we do not mean that the return of Christ is imminent (only the Father knows the day or hour (see Mark 13:32)) but that there is something different about these years of human history that distinguishes them from all that has gone before.
Human beings have been around a long time. Scientists estimate that to be approximately 100,000 years, although opinions vary. Around 5000 years ago, God set in train a series of events that impacted first on a particular people. In the Chosen People, we see God’s desire to lead and heal the whole human race. The promise to Abraham was that he would be the father of descendants as numberless as the stars (see Genesis 17).
This plan and action culminated in the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity: Jesus Christ, truly God and truly human. In him, we witness God’s desire to undo and transform the damage caused by our inability to live the authentic life that God offers to us. Classically described as original sin, it manifests itself in the human propensity to turn inward and to live or act in such a way that reveals a profound misalignment with reality. Put simply, human beings instinctively act as if each of us is the centre of the universe, even though such a claim is clearly absurd. Every time we behave as if we are above the truth, as if our wants and needs are higher than those of the men, women and children who cross our paths, or as if our concerns and priorities are of paramount importance and justify our being dismissive of or disrespectful to others, we reveal ourselves to be caught in unreality. We are not God: God is.
Behaving as if we are our own ‘gods’ continues to cause enormous harm to us as individuals and to our world. Pride, envy, gluttony, lust, greed, anger and sloth, if left unhealed, serve to separate us from the life God is offering us. Their impact is ever-present in and around us.
Our problem is that human endeavour by itself is not enough to rescue us from this state of affairs. God the Father, the origin of all that is, calls us back into right relationship with himself, with our world, and with ourselves. God the Son, in an act of infinite mercy and compassion, became one of us to provide the bridge back into the life the Father offers us. God the Holy Spirit works in and around us to provide us with the healing and guidance we require to begin, and to be caught up in, the journey back to the Father.
Original text by Shane Dwyer
Photo of stained glass window by Chokdidesign on Unsplash
Fr Anthony Mellor, 30 October 2019
Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Archbishop of Brisbane, 30 October 2019
30 October 2019