Being “born again” can mean being renewed by the Holy Spirit, and then taking action to help spread the Word of God. Like the wind, we do not know when the Holy Spirit will come and to whom, but one thing is for sure: when the Holy Spirit descends upon someone, positive and exciting change happens. We know of schoolmates whose behavior during their childhood or teenage years would make us think they would be least likely to enter the priesthood or the convent. Years later, we are surprised to hear that they have entered the religious life. Saul determinedly searched for and persecuted Christians. But after his spiritual renewal, he became one of the most dedicated missionaries the world has ever seen, and we now know him as St. Paul.
When the Holy Spirit comes to you, does it mean you will have an easier life? The lives of the saints, priests, nuns and missionaries show quite the contrary. They have to endure detachment from material wealth. They often have to work in hot and uncomfortable conditions in order to help the less fortunate members of society. Some have to cope with loneliness, rejection, and even hostility. Others have even died for their faith. But, even though they do not get any material rewards on earth, they are willing to make these sacrifices in the hope of receiving eternal rewards in heaven.
We pray, not only for the religious, but also for people of all ages and from all walks of life who make sacrifices big or small in order to show compassion to others, and to show others that God’s kingdom in heaven is present and active on earth. May the Holy Spirit descend on us, so that we may become messengers and examples of Christ’s Good News.