The Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Isolo, Lagos, Rev. Fr. Philip Egbuniwe, OSJ, on Tuesday, attributed sense of wholeness and unending joy to real friendship with the Holy Spirit. Fr. Egbuniwe, who stated this during the intercessory prayer session of the Day 5 Novena to the Holy Spirit, urged the parishioners to open their hearts, and embrace the Holy Spirit. He co-anchored the spiritual event with Rev. Fr. Bonaventure Ukwueze, osj.
“The Holy Spirit is here. Embrace Him, he is your greatest friend. In friendship with the Holy Spirit comes peace, security, healing and joy unattainable through any other relationship. Welcome Oh Holy Spirit our greatest friend.” The more, both Priests proclaimed the presence of the Holy Spirit, the more the Parishioners prayed louder with all their might, prayers broke out in heavenly dialects as some parishioners spoke in tongues. The people of God were in dire need for their God. It was obvious as they sought for God to embrace them, speak to them and address their needs. Fr. Egbuniwe fired back at the congregation reassuring them. “The Holy Spirit longs to be friends with you. Through the Holy Spirit, we have a continual connection with God. The Holy Spirit is here. He desires to be friends with you, He wants to speak to you, He wants to guide There is no record of Jesus Christ speaking in tongues – Rev. Fr. Egbuniwe you, He loves you, He wants to heal you.
He wants to take you out of that difficult situation. Welcome the Holy Spirit; speak to the Holy Spirit and listen to the Holy Spirit.” The Parish Priest has consistently hinted that the friendship with the Holy Spirit is like any other relationship. “We must respect, love and make time for Him. We must do away with sinful things. We must not do what He dislikes. And we must apologise anytime we hurt Him. The Holy Spirit has feelings like any other person. But He is also full of kindness, forgiveness, and unconditional love. Friendship with Him comes by obeying the commandments and following His guidance from a sinful lifestyle.” The Holy Spirit has become synonymous with speaking in tongues. The spiritual gift of speaking in tongues has continued to remain controversial with every new day. And it is deserving the media’s attention. Did Christ the fountain head of true Christian leadership speak in tongues? “There is no record of Jesus Christ speaking in tongues,” Fr. Egbuniwe stated.
The Feast of the Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit. Annually, it recalls how Jesus sent the His Spirit and stirred up apostolic proclamations in unlearned languages. Since then the experience of expression of being filled with Holy Spirit and its resultant effect of speaking in tongues has not left us. In several denominations of Christian Churches, particularly, the Pen- tecostal and Charismatic factions, there are daily accounts of people speaking in tongues. As this practice thickens so it has continued to attract debates. As Catholics worldwide mark the feast of Pentecost, the Acting Editor, NETA NWOSU speaks with Rev. Fr. Philip Egbuniwe, an Oblate of St. Joseph and Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Isolo, Lagos, on what the Feast of Pentecost celebrates, the Holy Spirit, and speaking in tongues. Fr. Egbuniwe’s priesthood has bias for the Holy Spirit. At the slightest opportunity, he is quick to preach to you that the Holy Spirit is your greatest friend. His entire being and vestments bespeak friendship with the third person of the trinity. Excerpts.
What does the Feast of Pentecost celebrate?
Pentecost Sunday is the Christian festival celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles of Jesus after his ascension into heaven. It is fifty days after the resurrection of Christ from the dead. On this day the Christians are bestowed with the promised gift of Jesus Christ from the Father. It is the birthday of the Church. The day of Pentecost is famously regarded as the birth of Christianity; while Easter is also seen as the beginning of Christianity. Please throw more light on this. The Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most. Rev. (Dr.) Hassan Kukah was once asked by a student: Who is greatest, Jesus or Mohammed? He threw the question back at the student and the student said that Jesus Christ is greatest because he said, he will be killed but will rise on the third day and he fulfilled His promise while Mohammed did not resurrect. Easter began Christianity for the resurrecting Christ Jesus was a paradigm shift. Thus we profess in our creed, “He rose again from the dead” and we believe that as Christians we shall rise again with Him. Pentecost is the beginning of Christianity and it has its root in the scripture. The Apostles were hiding in the upper room for fear of the Jews. Jesus said “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1.8). The promise was actualized on Pentecost Day when they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They became bold and spoke fearlessly about Jesus Christ risen from the dead (Acts. 2: 1-41). Many were converted on that day.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity. He is the love of God the Father and the Son. He is of the same substance with Father and Son. The Holy Spirit is a person because he possesses the three qualities of a person. He is a thinking being (Jn 14:26) “He will teach you everything.” He is a willful being (Zech. 4:4-9), “It There is no record of Jesus Christ speaking in tongues – Rev. Fr. Egbuniwe The Feast of the Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit. Annually, it recalls how Jesus sent the His Spirit and stirred up apostolic proclamations in unlearned languages. Since then the experience of expression of being filled with Holy Spirit and its resultant effect of speaking in tongues has not left us. In several denominations of Christian Churches, particularly, the Pen- tecostal and Charismatic factions, there are daily accounts of people speaking in tongues. As this practice thickens so it has continued to attract debates. is not by your power or your might but by my spirit…” and He is an emotional being,” The Holy Spirit is my greatest friend and a true companion. He is a relational being that longs for my relationship and I proudly boast of this relationship anywhere. I cannot trade this relationship for another.
What does the Holy Spirit do for mankind?
I will like to illustrate what the Holy Spirit does briefly. In our prayer life, He is a worthy Prayer Partner. He groans on our heads when the words of me stops (Rom. 8: 26-28). He is the Advocate. Every lawyer is paid for every court sitting which he may or may not win but when He speaks for you the difference is very obvious. He advocated for the Apostles and now for those who invite Him to their cases. He is the Comforter. The comfort and consolation of the Holy Spirit is more soul soothing (Jn. 14:7).
Did Jesus speak in tongues?
There is no record of Jesus Christ speaking in tongues.
Is speaking in tongues evidence for having the Holy Spirit?
The speaking in tongues is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul taught that “there are many gifts but by the same Spirit…to another varieties of tongues…” (I Cor.12: 4-11). It is the gift from the Holy Spirit. St. Paul also emphasized that speaking in tongues should be accompanied with the interpretation of the tongues for the edification of the Church and her hearers.
What is ‘Praying in Tongues’? Is ‘Praying in Tongues’, a special prayer language between God and Christians?
I will say that there is praying in tongues which is a mode of communication with God and the person. In this case interpretation of the tongues may not be necessary for it is a prayer directed to God. I cannot limit the Holy Spirit manifestation to say that there is no praying in tongues. Jesus Christ taught that the spirit moves in the way and manner He wills.
Do we necessarily need to speak in tongues?
The speaking in tongues is not the only gift from the Holy Spirit. There are many other gifts in the hierarchy of charisms. It is a gift for a few and must be used for the good of the Church.
How does Christ communicate His Holy Spirit to us?
Jesus Christ communicates his Holy Spirit to us when we are living a life of the spirit. It is necessary to state here that there is a difference between living the life of the Christ and Spirit, and living out the Charismatic life. The blending of the two lives makes us experience the Holy Spirit well. He leads us to the truth and makes us live the light of the world and salt of the earth.
Why and how is Holy Spirit like fire?
The fire is one of the attributes of the Holy Spirit. “Divine person of the Holy Trinity, friend and teacher of Christians, let me know You and relate with You not as a dove, fire nor mind”, Rev. Fr. George Nze Muoba states. On the Pentecost Day, He visits the Apostles like tongues of fire.
When most people are praying against satanic forces, they call on the Holy Spirit to set fire on their perceived adversaries. Is this right? Is this the function of the Holy Spirit?
The prayer of the Holy Ghost fire is a controversial one in the Church, but I think that we are getting it wrong. At the confession at Caesarea Philippi, Jesus praises Peter for revealing who He is but rebukes the Satan in Him for hindering his acceptance of the way of the cross. I think that the prayer should be that the fire should burn the wickedness, jealousy, evil thoughts in the person and not the person.
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? What are the signs?
To be filled with the Holy Spirit means living the life of the Spirit. The apostles were called Christians because of their way of life. The life of the believers should be Christ like. The believers who live life of the Spirit bears the fruits of the spirit; peace, joy , patience, self control, etc.