Fire: such an amazing, mysterious element. On the one hand it is dazzling as it gives light. On the other, it is frightening as it can cause pain.

There is a Filipino saying that says: it is better to fall prey to thieves than to fall victim to raging fire. Fire consumes everything in its path. A row of houses becomes a heap of ashes, a beautiful hillside becomes a barren desert, a beautiful body becomes a mass of disfigured flesh – when fire rampantly burns.

But fire does something amazing and necessary. We need fire to cause change in the world. The burnt hillside soon becomes ready as a fertile plantation. From the ashes of burned-down houses emerges a new village. Raw meat and vegetables become ready for food.

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Holy Spirit. One of the symbols of the presence of God the Holy Spirit is fire. He came down on the apostles in tongues of fire! The Spirit is fire because he comes to destroy. He is fire because he comes to rebuild. And unless he destroys, he cannot make something new to happen.

The disciples were fearful men and women. The Spirit destroys their trembling and rebuilds their courage. The disciples were lost after the Resurrection and Ascension of the Lord Jesus. The Spirit destroys their confusion and ignites missionary zeal.

Jesus sends the Holy Spirit on us today to help us live with the fire of love, of service, of truth and of joy. He sends the Holy Spirit on us so that we may be transformed by the fire from on high.

Pentecost is the end of Easter time but the start of many challenging opportunities. The disciples now faced the challenge of continuing the mission of Jesus in the world. Today, we also face the challenge of spreading the love of God to people, places and situations in life. Easter is over, vacation is almost done, and election time is finished. It is time to move on and live normally.

We can only move on if we are new again. How can we become new? By discarding the old. By allowing the Spirit to destroy what is old in us so that he can work out something new in our lives.

Honestly ask yourself: what needs to be burnt, to be purged and incinerated so that you can renew relationships, intentions and projects in your life? Is it an attitude, a mistake, a lie, a secret sin, a hurt or your pride? Offer all these to the Holy Spirit and prepare yourself for a big surprise!

Let the Holy Spirit destroy all these so that God can use the ashes to give birth to a new heart, a fresh mind, a transformed life.

Come, Holy Spirit!