In the Acts of the Apostles, we hear how the apostles laid hands on those who had been baptized in order that they might receive the Holy Spirit. In the Gospel, Jesus reminds his followers that the Paraclete—the Spirit of truth—will be with them always. This gift of the Spirit has also been given to us—and continues to be showered upon us as a gift from the Father.
Yet, as Jesus notes, the world cannot accept the Spirit of truth. Why–because the world prefers to live in darkness. Did you ever notice how people are gullible, looking for a quick fix to a problem or trying to make a fast buck? In today’s society, many people want instant gratification. Why work for something if you can get it quickly and cheaply? The Spirit reminds us that things take time. The truth is we can’t always have it our way. Sometimes we need to wait. The Spirit of truth reminds us that God is with us especially when everyone else is against us. Therefore, we need to continually try to find God’s presence in everyone we meet and in every experience we have.
When we are confronted with some confusion or some difficulty, we should ask ourselves, “Is this the work of the Spirit? What is God trying to tell us through this experience?” If we are attuned to God’s presence in our own lives, the Spirit will help us to make the correct decision. Moreover, when we encounter trials and tribulations and we suffer for them, our suffering is not in vain because we are suffering in Christ. The challenge facing each of us is to always keep before us the “reason for our hope.” That is, we live in society as a Christian because we have the hope that somehow we are making a difference in Christ. The Spirit keeps us grounded in this truth. When we are tempted to “go to the dark side” because it is more attractive, the Holy Spirit calls us back to our roots as Christians. When we are tempted toward despair, the Spirit of truth reminds us that Christ died for our sins that we might have hope in the resurrection. When we are angry because people are ignoring our gifts and talents or passing us over for promotion, the Paraclete gently guides us to remember that God is with us and all that really matters is that God loves us.
Each Memorial Day, we gather to pray for our loved ones who have died, especially those who died in service to our country. In our prayer for Memorial Day, may we also remember those who have no one to remember them: the unknown soldiers, the homeless, the forgotten, the abandoned, the abused, and the poor souls in purgatory. In calling to mind our loved ones, ask God to be merciful to those who are in most need of our prayers and have no one in particular to pray for them.