Pentecost Sunday

Galatians 5:16-25, John 15:26-27, 16:12-15

Holy SpiritThe liturgical time between our celebration of the Ascension of the Lord and of Pentecost could be seen as a sort of ‘Advent’.  As in the real liturgical season of Advent we watch and wait with a great sense of expectation, so too before Pentecost we watch and wait and expect.  Advent concludes with our celebration of the Birth of Christ, the Word becomes flesh and we recognise the reality of the reality of the Body of Christ.  So, at Pentecost we mark the birth of the Church and celebrate its reality as the Body of Christ.

During the days of sadness (at Jesus leaving the World) and Joy (at Jesus returning to the Father) we remember and cling to the words of the Lord before He returned to the Father: “I will not leave you orphans”(John 14:18); “I will send you the Spirit”(John 16:7); “The Spirit will teach you everything”(John 15:26).  We remember too “You will be my witnesses”(John 15:27) and “Go make disciples of all the nations”(Matt 28:19).  

Our celebration of Pentecost is a reminder to us, indeed a renewal for us, of the Sacrament of Confirmation.  This Sacrament is an act of commitment, a sign of maturity, an assurance of the endurance of the Truth.  Most of all it is the sacrament of empowerment for the disciples of the Lord. The Spirit comes with Gifts –sevenfold!  In our watching for the signs of the Spirit we may notice that we, mortal creatures, are able to know our God – the gift of Wisdom.  Even our weak minds can accept the truths of Faith – the gift of Understanding.  We recognise the hand of God in everything around us – the gift of Knowledge.  We are blessed to be able to make proper choices and moral judgements – the gift of Counsel.  How else can we explain the courage and serenity that people of Faith possess but by the gift of Fortitude.  We are not naturally filled with prayerfulness and worship but the gift of Piety brings us in contact with our God.  God’s plan for us is awesome and humbling.  We are able to face it with the gift of the Spirit that we call Fear of the Lord.

On this Day of Pentecost we would do well to ask ourselves are we ready for what the Lord has promised and delivered to us?  Are we open to receiving the Spirit and are we willing to become what is our calling – to be The Church, the Body of Christ?

During the time of great movement of the Holy Spirit, the time of the Charismatic Renewal we often sang the hymn ‘Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me (on us, on all).  Melt me, mould me, fill me, use me’.  There was always more enthusiasm singing the ‘us’ and the ‘all’ than when we sang the ‘me’ verse.

When the Spirit comes it does melt and mould us, it does ask us to go beyond what may be comfortable.  The Holy Spirit never leaves us unchanged or inactive.  Maybe we have something of the attitude of St Augustine before his conversion: “Lord, grant me chastity and self-control, but please Lord, not yet!”  The Holy Spirit came to the Church at prayer and in Fear.  This was not prayer of petition or prayer of adoration.  The Church at Pentecost is a Church of Openness – openness to God’s promptings.  Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on me, on your Church, on all people”  Veni Sancte Spiritus.