On Thursday, last week, the Church after Forty days of Jesus’ Resurrection, commemorates the memorable event of Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven from the Mount of Olives, leaving instructions to His Apostles not to leave Jerusalem yet, but to WAIT for the descent of the HOLY SPIRIT (Acts 1:4), the Gift of God the Father to those who obey Him, (Acts 5:32).
In obedience to this instruction, the first reading of this Seventh Sunday of Easter tells us that the eleven Apostles, together with Mary the Mother of Jesus and several women went straight to the Upper Room in Jerusalem and remained there waiting in reflective PRAYER for the coming of the HOLY SPIRIT, (Acts 1:12-14). This was in fact, the very first Novena to the HOLY SPIRIT in the Church. It lasted for nine days and on the tenth day comes the HOLY SPIRIT on the Pentecost Day.
Obviously, the Apostles couldn’t have began their difficult and challenging missionary work before they have received the HOLY SPIRIT. They really needed the COMFORTER and the HELPER for this noble task. Like the Apostles, the Lord enjoins us today to go into our respective ‘UPPER ROOM’ and WAIT in PRAYER for the PARACLETE, the ADVOCATE, the COMFORTER who would enable and strengthen us in our areas of weakness, so as to be more AUTHENTIC in our Christian WITNESSING to the RISEN LORD. Like the Apostles we are all burdened with diverse human weaknesses and worries.
Therefore, we have to enter into our interior self in reflective prayer this time as the Lord instructs. We have to get in touch with our inner self so as to identify the areas of our respective inabilities and worries, the areas of our lives where we really need the HOLY SPIRIT to take control and strengthen us for better. It’s only by the influence of the HOLY SPIRIT would we remain authentic and solid ambassadors of Christ, (2Cor.5:20). Good to say, it is quite interesting to notice from the passage of our reflection, the remarkable presence of Mary the Mother of Jesus with the Apostles in the Upper Room waiting in prayer ( Acts 1:14). Mary, must have played a decisive role during those nine days NOVENA, when the Apostles were waiting in prayer, reflecting together on their worries and all they had seen and learned from the Lord Jesus, in order to understand properly, the message they had to give to the world. Mary must have helped them to perceive properly the mystery of Jesus’ PERSON and MISSION, having being the only witness of the Annunciation event and of the 30 years of Jesus’ private life as His MOTHER.
The scenario of Mary being in the midst of the Apostles in the Upper Room waiting in NOVENA prayer, invites all of us not to lose the sight of Mary as our SPIRITUAL MOTHER in our Christian faith journey, just as Jesus enjoins His beloved disciple, John, under the foot of the cross, (Jn.19:26-27). Very often, many of us, in our ‘clever reasoning’ try to rationalize over this thereby neglect Mary in their Christian faith journey but kept journeying wearily all alone.
As we remain with Mary the Mother of Jesus in our Christian faith journey and particularly in the Upper Room NOVENA this week waiting in prayer, may the HOLY SPIRIT enlighten and enable us with His Power and the Seven Gifts to be authentic witnesses of the Risen Lord who prays in today’s Gospel reading, for us His Followers to be united in love, giving God the first place in our lives and allowing His PRINCIPLES and VALUES to determine our life decisions and choices as we bear Him witness.
As we continue with our NOVENA to the HOLY SPIRIT and wait for the HOLY SPIRIT, I bless you, your entire family, endeavours and engagements, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy spirit! Happy Sunday! Happy NOVENA to the HOLY SPIRIT.(Acts 1:12-14, Ps.27:1,4,7-8,1Pet.4:13-16 & Jn.17:1-11)