If you’re like me, you are usually relieved to make it to Easter Sunday. Finally, all of that Lent stuff is over and you can eat sweets and go back to life as “normal.” For my entire life until this year, that has been my approach to Easter. However, thanks to the coronavirus, this Easter felt totally different and much less like that joyous finish line I had looked forward to. After all, what did we do to celebrate?
We stayed in, just like everyone else living under the stay-at-home order.
But then, I was reading in the Acts of the Apostles (1:4-5), and realized that Jesus gave his disciples a kind of stay-at-home order following that first Easter Sunday:
“And while staying with them he [Jesus] charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
You see, Jesus told his disciples to stay at home in Jerusalem and to wait for the promise of the Father – the baptism of the Holy Spirit! In other words, Jesus tells his disciples to stay put because the best is yet to come!
So often, and rightly so, we place such a heavy emphasis on the resurrection. It is the trademark belief of Christianity. St. Paul tells us that we are absolute fools to be Christians and not believe in the resurrection (see 1 Cor. 15). But because of the unfathomable goodness of God, we cannot stop there. There is more!
There is still the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus calls the promise of the Father. The resurrection by itself is not enough – the Lord wants to give us even more.
If we stop and think of the Israelites, God was not finished with them after the Exodus event. Sure, they defeated Pharaoh and were delivered from the bondage of Egypt, but that was not the end of the story. They eventually were brought to Sinai where the entered into a covenant with God and were given the Law.
In the same way, Jesus defeats death and delivers us from the bondage of sin by the power of his resurrection, but the promise of the Father and the Law of the Holy Spirit is yet to come. This is what we celebrate at Pentecost – entering into a covenant with the Father written on our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, let’s listen to Jesus’ stay-at-home order like those first disciples in the Upper Room. We need to pray and wait with the Blessed Virgin for the promise of the Father to come upon us once more. Certainly, by baptism and confirmation the Holy Spirit was sacramentally poured out upon us – but we can never exhaust the unfathomable and unending riches of God. We MUST ask for more of the Spirit’s creating power – especially at a time like this.
Here are three suggestions:
- A daily renewal of your baptismal promises – stir up the Spirit already dwelling in your heart. You can use something like this.
- Pray the Rosary everyday. Mary was there with the disciples in the Upper Room and is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Where she is, there is the Spirit.
- Pray the Veni Creator Spiritus. It’s one of the Church’s most ancient prayers to the Spirit, and is a very popular prayer in preparation for Pentecost.
Like I said above, this is not the finish line, so let’s start now!