Filipinos love gifts. People arriving from a trip abroad or locally are expected to give something to the people they’ll find waiting. This is called “pasalubong,” which is literally, “welcome gift.” But I believe there is something wrong with the concept. Shouldn’t the welcoming party give a welcome gift to the one arriving and not vice-versa? Why should the newly arrived bring a “welcome gift” when in fact he was the one being welcomed? Anyway, it is hard to dispute with tradition. More apt is the word “uwi” (which in Bulacan we use to mean something you bring from your trip for a waiting loved one). It is more like a souvenir, a memento, a “taste” of the place the arriving person came from.

Today we celebrate Jesus’ final gift. Not a “pasalubong” or welcome gift. Not an “uwi” or “bring me” gift. But a parting gift, a legacy, a bequeathal. In Filipino we can say this gift is a “pamana.”

In the heart of God, there is an overflowing desire to connect with the world, and most specially with the people he has created and made his children. So in his heart flows a double mission. First there is the mission of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus, the unseen God is now visible. He touches us and we can touch him. He speaks to us and we can relate with him. He walks with us and we enjoy his company. Jesus is the face of God who is brother, friend, deliverer and savior to all of humanity.

When Jesus’ mission was accomplished, and he needed to return to God, the Father decreed another mission – that of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes from the Father through the death and Resurrection of Jesus. He comes from the heart of the Father. He also comes from the heart of Jesus. And while people experienced Jesus externally, which means they could see, touch, hear, feel him, we now experience the Holy Spirit internally.

Jesus is the face of God journeying with us. The Holy Spirit is the presence of God inside of us, within our hearts. He is so intimate, so close, that unites himself with us, making us his dwelling place, his temple.

We may not see the Father who reigns eternally in heaven. We may not see the historical Jesus again walking this earth. We have to wait until we reach heaven one day. But God is still with us – powerfully, truly, lovingly present – through the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

Who says that God is just in holy places or in sacred books? Wherever you are and whatever you do, you carry him in your heart! Thank the Lord for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

“I receive you Holy Spirit as the cherished legacy (the “pamana”) of the Father and of Jesus to me! Come, Holy Spirit and remain in my heart forever!”




In spite of the powerful presence of modern science and advance technology, our world is still entranced by spirits. We embrace many spirits. We follow the lead of the spirits of the world today.

Today, we respond to our neighbor with the spirit of hatred. If we pay attention to the events around the world, so much anger and animosity exist – between nations, religions, races, and classes of people. Many people go about their daily lives angry for what happened to them or for what they think other people do. We get angry so easily to get attention, to win debates, to conquer enemies and to project that we are strong. Maybe at this point, some of us are filled with hatred towards people and towards events. We do not know how to forgive.

Today, we find solace in the spirit of division. There are rich people and poor people. There are conservatives and liberals. There are righteous and sinners. There are ruling classes and the oppressed. There are bullies and victims. How sad it is that even in families, churches, or groups that promote solidarity, there exist divisions so deep that they cause a lot of pain to people.

Today, we feel comfortable with the spirit of resentment. While we have enough, we are not satisfied. We demand more. We think we must have more. We look at others and envy what they have. We look at ourselves and feel pity for what we are. Many people are sad and don’t know that the root of this feeling is the resentment they have towards the world, other people, and their past.

Today, our lives are marked by the spirit of detachment. Why should I care? I have my own life to live. I have my family to feed. I need to pursue my dreams. We pass by people daily but never stop to smile, to greet, to connect because that’s not our business. We are happy within our comfort zones and we survive. It is better to be detached than to be involved. It is safer that way.

This Pentecost, Jesus sends us the Spirit of love to replace hatred. The Holy Spirit comes from the heart of the Father and of the Son and so he is full of love. If we welcome him, he will show us that dialogue, understanding, acceptance and forgiveness are better than anger. When our hearts are full of love, then peace reigns within us.

This Pentecost, the Lord sends us the Spirit of unity to shatter division. The Holy Spirit stands between the Father and the Son forming as their bond of oneness, the glue of their relationship. If we accept him, he will teach us to look beyond what divides us and to appreciate more what makes us so like one another. We can heal the world’s suffering by confronting our problems together, as brothers and sisters.

This Pentecost, the Lord opens our hearts to the Spirit of gratitude. What will happen if instead of waking up grumpy in the morning and moving about complaining during the day, we learn to say “thank you” for the small things and the simple people we meet. Instead of decrying the things we do not have or that don’t happen as we expect, the Holy Spirit will help us fill the world with the good vibes of joy, praise, gratitude and kindness.

This Pentecost, the Lord strengthens our Spirit of commitment to one another and to the world we live in. The Holy Spirit convinces us that we do not live for our selves alone but we are made for and are saved only in the company of others. He will show us, if we allow him, how to feel the other person’s pain, and desire to do something to heal that wound. In that way, we become an extension of God, an instrument of the Spirit.

Do you prefer the spirit of the world? Or are you resolved to welcome now the Holy Spirit who the Father sends through his Only Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ?

Come, Holy Spirit!

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