The Missions of the Holy Spirit and the Son

Posted: April 21, 2014 in Catholic, Scripture

Without the missions of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church would not be what it is today. The two of them, with help from God the Father, began and grew the church from the wreckage of Original Sin.

thThe Catechism of the Catholic Church defines mission as “the work of initial evangelization and establishment of the Church in non-Christian lands” (CCC Glossary). Christ and the Holy Spirit jump started the mission of the church, establishing it and working through individuals to help it grow. Their missions, while separate, have one ultimate goal; to bring people back to God.

Jesus’ mission is to save people from their sins. It’s the meaning of his name, which is “God saves” in Hebrew (CCC 430). His name not only identifies him, but it defines his mission and the ultimate purpose of his life, crucifixion, and resurrection. In the gospel of Matthew, the archangel Gabriel appears to St. Joseph to announce the savior’s birth stating, “[Mary] will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Christ’s mission was made very clear to his parents from the moment they knew about his coming.

Another name that identifies God the Son, is Christ which means, “anointed” (CCC436). It is through this name that Jesus holds the office of priest, profit, and king. “‘God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power,’ ‘that he might be revealed to Israel’ as its Messiah. His works and words will manifest in him as ‘the Holy One of God'” (CCC 438). In other words, because Christ was anointed by God, he will save Israel from its sins with the Holy Spirit as his guide.

holyspiritandchristJesus accepts his mission of suffering at the hands of the Romans, death on the cross, and rising from the dead at his baptism in the Jordan. The father rejoices in his Baptism and acceptance proclaiming, “This is my beloved son; with whom I am well pleased” (Luke 3:21). The heavens opened and the Holy Spirit fell upon him, following this occurrence and forty days of ruthless temptation in the desert without food or water, Jesus was ready to begin his ministry.

John the Baptist declares him the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world at his baptism noting that it is Jesus who should baptize him instead. In this action, John reveals that Jesus is a silent lamb who “allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes” and will relieve them from the chains of sin (CCC 608). For Jesus came “not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

The Holy Spirit’s mission is ongoing because it is through him that the church is the way it is. He entered the Apostles forty days after Jesus ascended into heaven, then sent them out among the nations bringing them the truth, proclaiming the gospel and the mission of Christ. It is through the Spirit that the most holy trinity is revealed to us (CCC 244). It was the Holy Spirit the prepared the people of Israel for the coming of Jesus in the through the many covenants which were made to Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David in the Old Testament and now through Christ in the New Testament.

PentecostHe was played a very significant role in the birth of John the Baptist, whose mother was elderly and unable to bear children so that he may “prepare a people fit for the Lord” through Baptism (Luke 1:17). The Spirit entered the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary to conceive Jesus, as well as the womb of St. Anna to immaculately conceive Mary. It is the Holy Spirit’s mission to bring us into a communion with Christ who saved us from our sins, and to prepare the way for his second coming.

God the Father linked Jesus’ and the Holy Spirit’s missions in the most perfect way. The two are “distinct, but inseparable” because it is Christ who is a physical, visible image of God, but the spirit who reveals to the individual soul that Christ is God (CCC 690). Without the Spirit, it is very difficult for us to have faith and impossible to know God. Since the day the Lord created the Earth and until it’s end, where God sends his son, he will “always send his Spirit” (CCC 743).”The entire mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit is contained in this: that the Son is the one anointed by the Father’s Spirit since his Incarnation – Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah” (CCC 727). Together, they are one, neither mission is complete without the other.

This mission is completed through the Catholic Church as a whole, which is the “Body of Christ” and the “Temple of the Holy Spirit” (CCC 737). The two work through each other as the Spirit seeks men with all of his wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, wonder/awe, in order to bring them closer to Christ, preparing them to follow him.

Mission has played a crucial role in the church since her beginnings. It was through the missions of the Holy Spirit and Christ that the church was created. Both missions are separate and unique to each parties of the trinity. Jesus was sent to the earth to save man from their sins, and the Holy Spirit is sent to prepare the way for Christ and aid is in better knowing him. Their missions are inseparable and incomplete without the other.

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