Commentary on the Gospel of
Imagine if your pastor started the homily by asking for a show of hands of who in church has been baptized. Almost everyone would probably have their hand held up high and waving it. Now imagine if the next question your pastor asked was for a show of hands of those who are imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit. Would there be the same sea of raised hands, or would there be a few held high, a few hands at shoulder level and lots of tentative hands slightly tilted upward but still on the lap?
Where would your hand be? Up high and waving? Or, are you like the Samarians who had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus but the Holy Spirit had yet to descend upon? Maybe Peter and John knew full well the struggles those recently baptized into the faith would have in discerning God’s will for them, and hoped that by introducing the Holy Spirit to the Samarians, they would be more receptive to God constant presence in their hearts, minds and souls.
Some possible markers to look for in determining if the Holy Spirit is in you can be found in Galatians 5:22, which says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Are these attributes that describe how you not only interact with God but with those you love? What about how you interact with those you don’t know and, yes, how you interact with those you would sometimes prefer not to know?
For me, the most important of the attributes listed in Galatians is love, a love that seeks the best for others and a love that is willing to give without seeking anything in return. If you can check this box, then I would venture to say that the rest of the attributes may likely also fall neatly into place.
During your Examen of Consciousness pay special attention to how the Holy Spirit is present in your thoughts, words and deeds. Give thanks for all the gifts you have received and recognize when you have fallen short of what is expected from someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit.
But most importantly during your Examen, look forward to the day to come and the gifts you will not only receive but the gifts you will give to others. Think of your interaction with others and your giving and receiving of the gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Maybe you will realize that you have a little bit more Holy Spirit in you than you give yourself credit for. Maybe the next time the pastor asks who is filled with the Holy Spirit, your hand will be held high and waving.