Homily 24th May, 2015 - Pentecost Sunday. Year B
Today’s feast day of Pentecost is, in many ways, a birthday celebration. With the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples, on that first Pentecost Sunday, Christ’s church was born. And, as the readings this weekend tell us, we become beloved sons and daughters of God, and heirs to God’s kingdom. We have been given the freedom of the children of God. But the second reading supplies an essential ‘qualifier’ (lest we get too proud and indulgent), that this freedom is given to us in order that we too can live as Christ did. So we are reminded that Pentecost, and our membership of God’s family is never meant to be self-serving or indulgent, but all about service, sacrifice and self-forgetting love.
If you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are so opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions. If you are led by the Spirit, no law can touch you. When self-indulgence is at work the results are obvious…………// … What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. There can be no law against things like that, of course. You cannot belong to Christ Jesus unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires. Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit.
The Gospel this weekend also reminds us that the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the lives of the church, will always work to remind us of all that Christ did and said, and keep us close to Christ and his values. The Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of Truth." All who live by the Spirit, strive to live authentic, honest, integrated lives built on truth.
The Gospel today, from Saint John, tells us that Jesus gives his followers the peace they need, because that is the first greeting of the Lord to them: Peace be with you! May we (too) know the peace of Jesus in our own lives! With peace comes the capacity to forgive the sins of others. This forgiveness is clearly a gift of the Lord who loves us. This gift is given to each of us individually and also to the Church, through its ministry.
At the heart of our Christian life, fear is taken away, peace and forgiveness are given. May we dispel the fears of others and proclaim the peace and forgiveness given to us in Jesus.
In the first reading too… the disciples were not yet able to go out and speak publicly and to proclaim Jesus to others… even though they now knew he was Risen and Ascended to the Heavenly Father. They had to wait for the Holy Spirit to take hold of them and give them courage in the face of doubt, persecution, ridicule and rejection. Perhaps at times we too may be shy about proclaiming our faith in the Lord Jesus. Perhaps today we can pray for this Spirit to come on us and to give us courage so that our faith becomes so much a part of ourselves that it is so natural and easy to speak of our faith, in an unforced manner.
Our gifts are different, each person having different gifts. We need all the gifts that each person has so that we can continue the work of Christ in our world. How different our world looks when we begin to recognize that each person brings his or her own gifts and that we need everyone’s gifts to live in the fullness of Jesus Christ.
In the ‘everyday’ and unexceptional, that is also where we encounter and KNOW the Spirit is at work in our lives; especially when the love and sacrifice we show is clearly coming from a loving hand bigger than our own lives and our own limited motives and actions
When we do actions that are loving and unselfish, we are deeply aware that there is a power and a loving presence at work in us that is outside of just ourselves. ….Transcending our limitations … and not explainable by our own actions… but bigger, ……. And “of which are just a cooperating part….”
It is God, …. It is God’s Spirit at work in and through us. At work in the world. A power of unselfish, sacrificing love and service. Unconditional love. That is at the heart of creation.
Finally… just an interesting insight that I hadn’t thought of before… we often read this text about how (after the Spirit descended) people of different languages and cultures could all hear and understand….. but what is interesting is… the people were not speaking the same language… they were still speaking in the language of those different cultures….. but even so… they could understand…. This is a reminder that the Spirit brings not uniformity, but diversity and variety…. But we are all one in that diversity, because the common language we speak is the language of God… and that is LOVE…..
· FR. PAUL W. KELLY
· MISSION 2000 – PRAYING SCRIPTURE IN A CONTEMPORARY WAY. YEAR B. BY MARK LINK S.J.
· SHARING THE WORD THROUGH THE LITURGICAL YEAR. GUSTAVO GUTIERREZ.
· MONASTERY OF CHRIST IN THE DESERT. ABBOT’S HOMILY.
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