Grace to you!
Previously, I reflected on the prophetic role of evangelization. In today’s reflection, I share some thoughts on the sanctifying role of the Holy Spirit as we are consecrated in the truth of the Gospel.
Did you open your heart to the prayer of the Lord Jesus for the Church as recorded in John 17? There, the Lord prays for the Church, for the unity of believers as a sign to the world of his messiahship. He also prays for the Church and members to be consecrated in the truth, which he is (Jn 14:6).
This consecration, synonym—sanctification, means being set apart as God’s own. In such a case, one becomes totally devoted to the Lord and the Lord’s ways as a willing, faithful disciple. In another sense, it could mean being devoted to the Holy Lord and therefore pure from falsehood or worldly deceit. God is the person’s highest and greatest treasure and priority.
The Lord is praying that we be set apart from the worldly and be sanctified in him as God’s Word. We become anointed by his Spirit and are guided to believe what is true and reject falsehood and heretical insinuations in all its forms. Christ is the truth. In our Christian understanding, opposition to Christ is a kiss to falsehood. This daring claim is core to our faith as Christians.
The Lord prays for us. He prays regarding what he knows the Church would experience. He knew that many from within and outside of the Church would try to deceive his children. Some from within the Church would try to undermine the faith. He prays that we be consecrated in the truth, immersed in the truth and be rooted in such a way that falsehood will not destroy what we have received from him.
No one is consecrated in the truth of the Gospel of Christ outside of Christ’s body, the Church. It is in this body we are shielded from falsehood. It is in this body we are made holy for God. It is in this body that the Holy Spirit continues to heal, renew and build us together in truth. It isn’t surprising that the first coming of the Holy Spirit as the Lord promised was when this body gathered in worship (Acts 2:1-4). Little surprise what the devil does, if it wants to lead believers into all sorts of heretical doctrines, is to push them away from the body of Christ. Or it instills in them hatred for the body of Christ. It could also sow the seed of division so as to conquer.
The Apostle Paul, in the footsteps of the Lord, prays also for the Church of Ephesus (Acts 20:28-38), especially for the ordained ministers. He was particularly concerned that they be vigilant and not allow the spirit of deceit to creep in (Acts 20:30-31). He wanted them to watch over this body, the Church, as those who have been commissioned by the Holy Spirit as its guardians (vs 28). In doing so, they are to be led by the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of truth.
Nonetheless, to believe and hold onto this faith is grace and our cooperation with the Spirit. One needs the power from above to hold onto this truth. One needs the Holy Spirit to be set apart. One needs the Holy Spirit to be sanctified, as well as withstand the pummeling persecutions of opposition to the truth of the gospel. It really takes swimming against the current to hold onto this truth. Yet, swimming against the current is possible by the Holy Spirit whose force is itself against the currents of the worldly.
Pray with me, that we be consecrated in the truth of the gospel and that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide us in our daily choices for truth against falsehood and heresy. Amen.
Continue to pray the Novena, Come Holy Spirit.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday Easter Week 7: Acts 20:28-38; Jn 17:11-19]
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.