HOLY SPIRIT – LORD AND GIVER OF LIFE: RENEW US NOW!
(Acts 2:1-11; Rm 8:8-17; Jn 14:15-16, 23-26)
Today, in the psalm we chant: ‘Lord send forth your Spirit and renew the face of the earth’. With the first reading, we recount events ‘when Pentecost day came’. How the Jerusalem dwellers were ‘amazed and astonished’, that every nation under heaven praised and preached about the marvels of God!
What we re-live and celebrate at Pentecost is not memories of past fellowship. It is about our present mandate to wake up from our state of indifference and give renewed witness to Jesus Christ. For this reason, the Advocate, the ‘Holy Spirit’ and ‘Power of the Most High’ (Lk 1:35) opens to all peoples the knowledge of God. Today, the same Spirit awakens the Church and summons her members to unity. The Spirit breathes many tongues, yet guides all in languages spoken to profess one faith in Jesus.
There are many and diverse tongues today speaking out loud and pointing to our need to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Yet the clearest and most authentic voices representing the Advocate today, will be from the hearts willing and able to echo Jesus Christ in the straight demand of his Gospel: ‘If you love me keep my commandment’; ‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word’; and ‘Those who do not love me do not keep my words’. They rather feel the Gospel as overtaken in our time.
If ‘the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead’, is the same Spirit who lives in us and gives life to our mortal bodies, how can we pass short-sighted judgements on the Church? Even if secularism attracts more or our bad examples undermine the work of faith, the Holy Spirit forbids our insinuations that the Gospel has failed. We are the failures, because even as priests some of us have not really accepted to stand for Jesus!
The sequence we have just heard is an invocative cry to the Holy Spirit to ‘bend our stubborn heart and will’. To ‘heal our wounds and wash our stains of guilt away’! The urgent invitation here is to become even now, the children of God that we were all called to be by our baptism.
As Church – Lay faithful, Consecrated person, priest or Bishop: Pentecost demands of us to first, open our own individual hearts to Jesus Christ. A biodata, full of PhDs is still not faith in God. Before we seek for structure, methods or paradigms of Church, we need to accept what our Christian faith believes. We do not need another Church of our own design and we have no use for a ‘modern’ Gospel, crafted to the boundaries of human regulations or tuned to today’s fleeting ideologies.
God is the one who breathes life to our sinful bodies. ‘Salvation of soul’ has lost its ground to ‘professional’ standards. And certainly, this gratuitous gift given from above and beyond the best of our human efforts, is daily getting confused. At Pentecost therefore, the Advocate, sent in the name of Christ reminds us, renews us, strengthens us and confirms us, not in our ‘expert opinions’, ‘smart options’ or ‘creative applications’ on faith matters but in what Jesus Christ teaches.
Send forth your Spirit, Lord Jesus and wake up the leadership of the Church to give you witness. Give back the prophetic spirit to the Church and vanish our media fear: fear that we will be branded as ‘conservative or traditional’ Catholics in place of our choice to be seen as ‘progressive and dynamic Catholics’. Break our hearts Lord, in personal conversion to Jesus and his Gospel.
End the indifference, fence-standing and ‘double-talk’ on issues of faith. These lie at the root of the immorality which has brought your people to such a distrust of Church leaders. Kill the sheer ignorance in the pastors of your flock, including the ‘eloquent silence’ to say to your people: This is what the Church believes and teaches: follow it! Renew the heart of your people, so that the face of the Church and the earth may be renewed. Amen!