Fall 1964

Page 64




The events of Pentecost and the preaching of Acts give the final information about the Spirit. Jesus announced that he would send the promise of the Father (Lk 24:49); the Spirit is proclaimed as the promise of the Father (Acts 1 :4) and indeed identified with it (2:33, 39). The Spirit is also called the gift (2:38) and described as a power (Lk 24:49) by which the apostles will be fortified to give testimony to Christ (Acts 1 :8). Peter's sermon interpreting Pentecost throws interesting light on the ecclesiastical aspect of the coming of the Spirit. By the gift of the Spirit the new people of God is set up (Acts 2:17-18), a people which will be spiritual, prophetic, charismatic, and which will include all, both Jews and gentiles (2:39-Is 57:19). It will be finally a holy people, called freely by God (2:39) and saved from the perverse generation (2:40-41). Moreover, the activity of the Spirit continues in the spread of the infant Church. He is the internal spirit of Christian preaching (4:31) and gives strength to preach ( 5:32; 10:19). The Spirit is the principle of the charisms (7:55; 8:29, 39; 10:44-46) and inspires prophecies in the early community (11:28; 13:1-4; 20: 23; 21:11 ). The Spirit is also the principle which rules and directs the Church. The Church grows (9:31), judges, and discerns (15:28) through the Spirit. The apostles are sent (13:4) or prohibited from speaking by the Spirit (16:6). In particular, the gift of the Spirit (2:38; 8:19-20; 10:45; 11 :17) refers to the prophetic and messianic gift, designates an effusion of the Holy Spirit differing from baptism (8:20; 11: 17) upon all the faithful ( 2 :39), and is nevertheless identified with the Spirit of Pentecost (11:15). Thus the gift of the Spirit is meant essentially for the perfection of the Christian and to empower the faithful to give witness to the kingdom of the risen and glorious Christ. It is distinguished from baptism in the name of Jesus, yet somehow joined to it; without both baptism and the gift of the Spirit initiation into the Christian community is not complete (19:1). . THE t;IFT OF THE SPIRIT: ROOT OF OTHER EFFECTS

The above outline of the activities attributed to the Spirit in