Saturday 23rd May 2020
Sixth week of Easter
Acts 18:23-28, John 16:23-28
I once led a prayer session before a meeting which comprises of different Christian denominations. As soon as I started the prayer with the sign of the cross, I noticed that many of them did not make the sign, either because they do not know how to do it, or because they do not like it. When I ended the prayer with the words "through our Lord Jesus Christ your son who lives and reign with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever", only a few of them, probably the Catholics and other orthodox Christians said Amen. After the meeting, some of them came to me to explain how I started and ended the prayer. It could sometimes be a futile effort trying to explain to some people of such. In prayer, it is very obvious that many of us do not pray and many do not even know how to pray. We have all been praying during this pandemic, but many of us have not really prayed as we should. Many of us are getting frustrated because our prayers seem not to be answered.
Jesus tells us in the gospel reading of today, that he is the way to the father, and thus we can only reach the father through him if we pray through him. St Paul tells us in Colossians 1:15, that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. This also is not devoid of the Holy Spirit because it is only those who have the spirit of God that can pray genuinely.
We see therefore as Jesus tells us today, that he is one with the father and the Holy Spirit. We therefore pray to the father, through the son and in the spirit.
Let us continue to take our novena to the Holy Spirit in anticipation of the day of Pentecost more seriously. We can only pray to God through Jesus, if we have the Holy Spirit. St Paul puts it more succinctly in his letter to the Romans 8:26, that the Spirit comes to help us in our weakness, for, when we do not know how to pray properly, then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that cannot be put into words. One cannot be a Christian without the Holy Spirit. May we be ever ready to welcome and be disposed for the Spirit of God in our lives. God help us. Amen
Fr Michael Osatofoh Eninlejie MSP