The work of the spirit

We can’t see the Holy Spirit. In today’s First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Luke uses images to express what can’t be described literally: the reality of the coming of the Spirit. The Spirit’s coming ‘sounds like’ a powerful wind, and ‘seems like’ tongues of flame descending on the heads of the apostles. The Holy Spirit is not seen directly, but the Spirit’s actions are plain to see. The apostles are given power to witness to the Good News in all the languages of the world. The division of the human race into different languages and nations is overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit, as people from all parts of the world can hear and understand the apostles’ preaching. Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of truth. Paul, in the Second Reading, describes what the Spirit brings to the Christian community: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will bear these fruits in our own communities, and we will be credible witnesses to Christ.

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