We Need The Guidance Of The Holy Spirit
Monday of Week 2 in Eastertide
Acts. 4:23-31 & Jn. 3:1-8
The whole city of Jerusalem had been stirred up by the news of the miraculous healing of the beggar at the gate of the Temple. Everyone knew the man by sight because he had been begging there for years. Now he was healed. The civil and religious leaders warned Peter and John to stop preaching and healing in the name of Jesus. They were afraid to do physical harm to the apostles because they were so popular with the common folk. But they were prepared to do all they could forcibly to silence the apostles. They simply could not allow this new religious movement to spread unchecked among the people.
Against that background, the prayers of those early Christians for Peter and John are remarkable. They did not pray that God would strike their enemies dead if they lifted a hand against Peter and John. They did not pray that Peter would be protected by the people who received their message. Rather, they prayed that Peter and John would have complete assurance that they were doing the right thing, no matter what happened to them. All they asked was that God would continue to help them to do the very thing that got them into trouble in the first place!
The manner of their prayer can give a new dimension to our prayer life. We often pray that unpleasant things may be taken away from us, that our life may be made easier. If we have a domineering boss, we pray that he will be transferred elsewhere; instead, we should pray for him and for the strength to put up with him. If we are unemployed or struggling to make ends meet, we pray for a lottery win or some windfall; instead, we should pray to be able to cope with our situation at that moment, trusting that He who feeds the birds will provide for us, His children.
In every circumstance in our life, may we pray like the early Church that God's will may be done, not ours. As His will unfolds may we be given the strength to do what He asks of us, and have that complete assurance that in doing His will all will be well for His will is our peace.
In the Gospel we read how Nicodemus, a Pharisee, came to see Jesus by night. It appears he, a learned man, could not make head nor tail of what Jesus was saying about a wonderful miracle, the wonder of a second birth that was available to all who believe in Him. Nicodemus misunderstood the nature of this as though it was some kind of biological restart. Jesus had to explain to him that this wonderful rebirth comes about through water and the Holy Spirit in Baptism which gives us new spiritual life. He moves us in a new direction, provides us with new strength for dealing with the problems of life and confirms our faith when we face difficulties. This gift of the Holy Spirit is for life, a source of energy, vision and wisdom for us throughout our lives. Through Baptism the Holy Spirit lives in us and we are made adopted children of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus.
Holy Spirit, may we pray like the early Christians that You will continue to guide us, as You guided them, because we are so much in need of Your help.