|Pentecost by Jean II Restout, 1732, oil on canvas, Louvre Museum, Paris|
I can only imagine what it must have been like for the disciples to experience Pentecost!
These were unlearned men for the most part. They left their jobs to follow this young man whose wisdom, love, and challenge was intriguing and perplexing, yet deeply felt. Here they are going through the embarrassment and fear of the crucifixion to find out that he lives as he visits them and pronounces peace to them. What a whirlwind of experiences, hard to fathom and understand. Then they are given the Holy Spirit with tongues of fire and extraordinary capabilities. It is perhaps the same with us. (Acts 2:1-11; 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13; Jn 20:19-23)
What is this Holy Spirit given to us at Baptism and Confirmation?
This powerful force leads us to extraordinary situations and results. Did I know when I was a teenager that one day I would be preaching, baptizing, and standing in front of people readily sharing the word of God? No, it was a far, far off thought. Yet my life has come to this place, at this time, doing such things. Why? It is the Holy Spirit. Simply, the Holy Spirit has directed me, given me courage, opened up opportunities for me, given me the words to say. And I offer to you, how has the Holy Spirit affected you?
The disciples challenged the culture they were in, the religious authorities, the basis of their religious practices and beliefs. The Holy Spirit made that happen. It brought to them truth, motivation, and energy that resulted in their actions changing the world. We can do that as well. We need to do that. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created. And Thou shall renew the face of the earth. Amen.
Come, Holy Spirit, come!And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul's most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue's sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.
From the sequence at today’s Mass.