Reading 1 ACTS 2:1-11
Responsorial Psalm PS 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
- (cf. 30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
Reading 2 1 COR 12:3B-7, 12-13
Veni, Sancte Spiritus
- Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel JN 20:19-23
Homily—May 19 & 20, 2018
Pentecost was always a family celebration for the Miller family and I assume that was something that went back to Luxembourg, Europe. I hope to go down to Iowa City in the afternoon to see my brother-in-law and my sister. He was sitting in a chair today(yesterday) and the doctor said he is doing good but not “out of the woods” yet. Luke creates a wonderful picture in the Acts of the Apostles. All of Jesus’ disciples gathered when suddenly the sound of a wind fills the air and balls of fire hover like tongues over each of them. They are all filled with the Holy Spirit who leads them to proclaim their message in languages they had never studied, but happened to be those the pilgrims who heard them could understand. The two key elements of the story are the extraordinary influence of God’s spirit on the community and the breadth of the mission they were given the ability to accomplish. That helps us interpret Jesus’ promise to send the Spirit to the disciples. Jesus calls the Spirit “the Advocate.” While Christian preachers have often taken that to mean that the Spirit is sinful humanity’s advocate before God, Jesus seems to be saying just the opposite: The Spirit is God’s advocate with humanity. The role of the Spirit is to be God’s goad, reminding disciples of who they are and enabling them to fulfill their call. The Spirit, who enflames disciples, reveals how, as Gabriel had told Mary at the beginning of Luke’s Gospel, nothing is impossible for God. The real miracle of Pentecost is one of listening: God’s Spirit overcomes the barriers of language and perception, opening not only the crowds’ minds but their hearts to hear the word of God spoken by Peter and the Twelve. The Spirit enables us to discern the voice of God in the context of God’s compassion and peace, to hear what God actually speaks and not what we want or hope to hear. As on Pentecost, God’s Spirit continues to speak in the midst of the busyness, pain and despair of our lives, inviting us to embrace the life and love of God in our homes and hearts. St. Thomas Aquinas says that the Holy Spirit interiorly perfects our spirit, communicating to it a new dynamism so that it refrains from evil for love. With the Holy Spirit within us, “It is quite natural for people who had been absorbed by the things of this world to become entirely otherworldly in outlook, and for cowards to become people of great courage” (Saint Cyril of Alexandria). St. John Vianney wrote that the Holy Spirit is like a gardener cultivating our souls. . . He brings out good desires in a pure soul, as the dove hatches her young ones. . .We should say every morning, “O God, send me your Spirit to teach me what I am and what you are.” In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis explains that the Christian mission must continue to respond to ever-new circumstances: “The drive to go forth and give, to go out from ourselves, to keep pressing forward in our sowing of the good seed, remains ever present”. In order to meet the challenge of continuing to sow the good seed, Francis reminds us that “God’s word is unpredictable in its power,” and that “The Church has to accept this unruly freedom of the word, which accomplishes what it wills in ways that surpass our calculations and ways of thinking” We have been promised the Spirit who can renew the face of the earth. When we invite that Spirit into our world, we must do it with our whole heart or not at all. Have you ever felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life? How has God stirred the Spirit in you to continue Jesus’ mission?