The Holy Spirit helps us to wait, pray and act
by Sister Elise Cholewinski
The apostolic community is caught in a kind of dilemma. Jesus, who is risen and has been spending time with them, even eating and drinking with them, is departing. They can no longer rely on some physical manifestation of His Presence. At the same time this motley group of disciples, who had deserted Him as He endured the agony of His Passion, is given a great commission. They are to bear witness to Jesus in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, which in those days was Rome. Having witnessed the ascension of Jesus, and not yet having experienced the descent of the Holy Spirit, what were they to do? Wait. Pray.
Today, too, we are living in an in-between time. We are experiencing the tension of polarization in the Church and in the world. Some people long for and attempt to replicate the Church of the past, the pre-Conciliar Church. Others are excited by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, envisioning a new Church on the horizon. As we stand in the middle, sincerely hoping for reconciliation and unity, what must we do? Wait. Pray.
But that’s not the end of the story. We have received the promised Holy Spirit. In the midst of peacefully carrying the tensions of the present age, we are still being sent forth to fulfill the Church’s mission. How will we do that? In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us.
Go. Make disciples. Baptize-immerse people into the mystery of God.
To whom will you go? What is your part in fulfilling the mission of the Church?
Wait. Pray. Promote a synodal Church. Making disciples happens both within and without the Church, for the Holy Spirit is alive within each of us in every relationship. Synodality, first and foremost, calls for listening to one another in respect, in reverence. I think this takes daily practice.