The function of the Advocate is to testify or to bear witness to Jesus. This is to be done in conjunction with the community’s own testifying and witnessing. The activity of the community giving testimony and bearing witness is a visible manifestation of the Advocate at work in the community.
Those who knew themselves to be the recipients of that gift became newly identified as church. By the power of that same Spirit, those so identified began to understand what it meant to be church in the world.
Being church means bringing the good news of God’s love and forgiveness to all by inculturating that love and forgiveness in every strata of human society. Being church means discovering within oneself – faith, where once there was fear, conviction where once there was doubt, grace where once there was weakness, hope where once there was discouragement, and love for others where once there was prejudice and hate. Being church means praying together, learning together, working together and sticking together despite differences of race, background, gender, socio-economic status and /or political leanings. Being church means gathering for the breaking of the Bread, both of the Word and the Eucharist. Being church means living in the awareness of the risen Christ and offering the joy of that same awareness to others. Being church means living and caring and sharing in such a manner that others are drawn to desire a similar belonging.
What I have just given is a description of the Church, if we live it in the way that Jesus’ giving of the Holy Spirit – the actual Birthday of our Church was designed to do.
The function of the Advocate (Holy Spirit) is to testify or to bear witness to Jesus. This is to be done in conjunction with the community’s own testifying and witnessing. The Holy Spirit and the community work together. The activity of the community giving testimony and bearing witness is a visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit at work in the community.
The Holy Spirit is not a private gift to any one person regardless of who that person might be. The Advocate is a gift to the whole community, resides in the community and constitutes the unifying factor of the community. We, the faith community have received this gift and when we allow the gift of the Holy Spirit to continue nurturing us, we can do wonderful things.
Pentecost is a communal experience of God. The essence of religion is the personal experience of God, without which it is just another program of self-improvement. God bless you all!