Filled With The Holy Spirit
Catechesis At Home – Filled With The Holy Spirit
4th Sunday of Easter – Year B
The first line of the first reading tells us more about the Holy Spirit than what we might learn from any other source. Peter, being accused of doing good in the name of Jesus, is standing before the elders of the Jewish community. These are the same who gathered in the night and tried Jesus in a kangaroo court that condemned him to death. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, publicly condemns these leaders, specifically accusing them of the crime of murder. The readings this past week, leading up to this one, are Peter’s interactions with these leaders, culminating in this forceful, righteous, and virtuous condemnation by the first pope.
The leaders have been trying to just get Peter to go away. To stop exposing their late-night crime to the light of day. They hold a tenuous power over the people, and the entire region is abuzz with hundreds of people having seen the risen Jesus. The elders cannot condemn Peter for telling the Truth, yet they cannot allow him to keep saying the Truth or their hold on power will crumble because they will be condemned by that Truth.
It is almost a comedy routine, with the elders seeming to say, “C’mon, do us a favor and just go away.”
This has everything to do with what we have in common with Peter: We, baptized, are filled with the Holy Spirit. The difference? Peter knows it with the very core of his being, and cannot deny it – he cannot deny the Truth. And the Truth is so beautiful, it must be shared, to shed the light in every dark corner he encounters, starting with the dark corners of the corrupt Sadducee hierarchy and winding up in Rome – the very darkest of Godlessness in the known Ancient World.
When we know we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we do not need to wait for a sign, a confirmation, of it. All we have to do is use it. If we use the Holy Spirit we are using the power of God. Peter uses the power of God to condemn the highest authority on the planet in the years to come, and has no problem righteously smiting the elders gathered before him, who are timidly asking him to go away.
This is the same Peter who ran away and hid during Our Savior’s darkest hour. The difference?
“Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 4:8)
Darkness in our society and culture grows because we do not shed light on it. Whether we “speak truth to power” or ask a neighbor to turn down the offensive music, when the righteousness of God is in our words and deeds, the darkness shrinks. This week, parents should discuss with the family one thing that they have always wanted to “say something about”. This should be an ongoing conversation that eventually culminates in the proper action being taken. Whether asking a priest why they do not celebrate Mass properly, or a bully at school to stop being mean, the light cannot get into the dark crevices without us, a light bearer. As a family, read Deuteronomy 31:6 this week every night at dinner, and discuss the thing that you have always wanted to say. Eventually, if we keep this discussion going, someone will let out that which fills them – the Holy Spirit –and bring light to a much-needed part of our world.
Download below the PDF of this article and print out the last page, the verse from Deuteronomy, posting it on the refrigerator for easy access during dinner and going forward. Make copies for each bedroom or each bathroom mirror!
Do you need help recognizing the Holy Spirit in you?
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