Word: The Holy Spirit empowers all those who keep the word of God.
Order: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses…to the ends
of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
For most of us, the high point of our journey in a community like Bukas Loob Sa Diyos Covenant Community, is the moment of empowerment that takes place during our LSS ‘baptism in the spirit’. When we step out of that LSS weekend, our lives are forever changed; and we are never the same persons again. The transformation process, being largely experiential, is difficult to explain and can only be a product of the working of the Holy Spirit. It is the same Spirit that empowered and gave joy to Christ’s disciples after His Resurrection more than 2,000 years ago.
A series of important events in the life of the Church mark the month of May, with readings highlighting the Holy Spirit, including the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, Pentecost Sunday, and Trinity Sunday. It begins with the gospel of 6th Sunday of Easter: “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name…” (Jn 14:26), a verse repeated on Pentecost Sunday. Then on the feast of the Ascension, the Scripture reads, “I am sending the promise of my Father upon you…” (Lk 24:49). And finally, on Trinity Sunday, the gospel states, “But when He comes, the Spirit of Truth, He will not speak on His own but He will speak what He hears…” (Jn 16:13). All these verses refer to the coming of the Holy Spirit who empowers the followers of Jesus to do His work of evangelization.
Undoubtedly, the Life in the Spirit Seminar leaves us aflame with the Holy Spirit. However, as time goes by, the intensity of this fire may be somehow dimmed, if not altogether doused, by our worldly cares and day-to-day activities. In order for the Spirit to dwell in us, we are to love Jesus and keep His word "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them,” (Jn 14:23). This is our Word for the month of May: The Holy Spirit empowers all those who keep the word of God.
Our Order this month is an affirmation of the BLD Vision to be living witnesses for transformation in Christ: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses...to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
6th Sunday of Easter
As we grow in Community, teachings, mission work, service at Encounter/ LSS weekends, and other community activities keep us engaged and busy. Trials and difficulties may arise that could unsettle or confuse us. This week, Jesus promises the help of the Holy Spirit: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I told you,” (Jn 14:26). It is comforting and re-assuring to know that the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit is in everything we do. On receiving the Holy Spirit, the disciples of Jesus were emboldened. They were no longer afraid, or troubled, because they had received the gift of peace, one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid,” (Jn 14:27) This is the same peace we receive at every Holy Mass that we are empowered to share with others. This is our theme for the 1st week of May: The Holy Spirit empowers us to share the peace of God.
The Solemnity of the Ascension
What could be more significant to Christians than the return of Jesus, body and soul, to His rightful place in heaven with His Father? Ascension Sunday is a victory for all His followers. It was a promise of hope to His disciples who witnessed His visible ascension into heaven. We hold on to the same promise today, for although Jesus is no longer physically with us, we believe in our hearts that we shall one day be reunited with Him at a place He has prepared for us. Death is not the end but the real beginning when we arise at the end of time with our new and glorified bodies. This is our promise for the week: “This Jesus who has been taken up from you to heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven,” (Acts 1:11b).
While waiting for Jesus to return, we are to preach the Gospel of repentance and reconciliation to all nations. This is our theme for the week: The Holy Spirit empowers us to preach repentance and forgiveness. The best place to start is right here, within the BLD Community, where conflicts wait to be resolved and members reconciled. Reconciliation is, however, easier said than done, but Jesus has equipped us with the Holy Spirit.
More than any other Church event, the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on Pentecost Sunday is a significant occasion marked by charismatic communities worldwide. Pentecost Sunday is considered to be the ‘birthday of the Church’, the time when the Holy Spirit breathed life upon His Church which, as a result, was born of the Spirit. It is the same Spirit we receive when we were baptized as infants, and more dramatically during our LSS. The Holy Spirit lies at the heart of every renewed Christian. It is our only source of empowerment, allowing us to proclaim the Kingdom of God and enabling us use our spiritual gifts to perform acts that are otherwise far beyond our ability or expectations. It is the gift that equips us to love and obey the Lord. This is our theme for the week: The Holy Spirit empowers us to love Jesus thru others and keep His commandments.
Every LSS allows the Lord to breathe into our lives, renewing our strength and bringing healing to all our hurts and wounds. It does not matter whether you are a lamb, a shepherd, or part of the working team. The LSS is always a refreshing, priceless experience, not unlike a modern-day Pentecost. And it comes with a promise: "The one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.” (Rom 8:11)
And finally, we come to the Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity, the biggest mystery of our faith. We believe that there is but one God, and in this one God there are three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The readings of Trinity Sunday speak of all three Divine Persons, the Father as the origin of all creation, the Son as His wisdom and His light, and the Spirit, who proceeds from both.
“The Father is acknowledged and adored as the source and the end of all the blessings, of creation and salvation. In His Word (Jesus) who became incarnate as a man, died and rose for us, the Father fills us with His blessings. Through Jesus, His Word, he pours into our hearts the Gift that contains all gifts, the Holy Spirit.” (CCC1082)
As mortal beings, this mystery will never be fully comprehensible to us. Suffice it to say that our theme this week celebrates the Blessed Trinity, the three persons in one God: The Holy Spirit empowers us to glorify the Father and the Son. And the promise of the Lord for this week is: “Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you,” (Jn 16:15).