Today, Pentecost Sunday, celebrates the coming of the Spirit on the apostles, their confirmation as it were, when their faith was strengthened and they were empowered to go out to establish and spread the church. All of us received the same spirit at our baptism and confirmation. We too are sent out to spread the faith and build up the church. Lets confess ways we fail to do this..
Today’s the feast of Pentecost when the church was launched. And its right we celebrate it in summer, for the coming of God’s Holy Spirit was a new summer for the world. And the third person of the Trinity is the key to all warmth in Christian life, the church and the world. That’s what we mean by the Holy Spirit? He’s best seen in the finest kindest aspects of a person, a home, or a country. I once had an audience with John Paul 11; as he entered warmth enveloped us. But that’s true of people we meet every day, they radiate kindness and goodness. That’s the holy spirit, what’s individual and best in humankind. But a contrary negative spirit can also possess people. For example, and I hope I’m wrong, I sense a colder spirit evolving in Ireland today. Is the spirit of the world and Satan its lord taking over, in colder, harder, secular atheistic values. Be that as it may, when the Holy Spirit goes out the window so does humanity. The church is feeling such a cold wind blowing at present; mass attendance down, attacks from a more secularist media and government. In this climate we who love the Spirit could easily lose heart.
The feast we celebrate today should snap us out of any such tendency. Its a sign of eternal hope. Christ, ascending to the Father, became Lord. From his throne he sent the Spirit to us so that in his power we could “teach all nations” how to be holy. He guarantees the church’s triumph. He’s the Advocate, defending us before the world who’s master is Satan and who fights against God and his Christ. So lets have no fear, in the Spirit all is well.
He constantly gains the victory for us over the destructive spirit of the world. Just as he sustained the early church in the midst of bitter opposition and martyrdom of the apostles. Despite persecution the power and joy of the spirit carried them eventually to glory. They were brokenhearted when Christ ascended but they knew he had to go. So that the Spirit could come, the church be born, its mission in His power win over the world.
Paul says where sin abounds grace always abounds even more. This Easter adults of many countries were baptized in churches from China to Ireland. The Spirit thrives despite efforts to snuff him out. No wonder the church has seen off 1000’s of opposing worldly ideologies through time. They all faded like grass, but it continued to grow in the timeless grace of Christ’s Holy Spirit.
Lets be wise then and serve Him rather than the passing world of which Satan is lord. “My vows to the lord I will fulfil before all this people”, the psalm say. At baptism and confirmation we vowed to bring Christ’s saving Spirit to a spiritually ill world. Lets do so. Aided by personal prayer, the mass, the sacraments and living love lets bring His golden presence to all. For all else fades to dust and ashes, only fools trust in the spirit of the world and its empty passing values. But in Christ’s Holy Spirit we grow within in untold wisdom, love, goodness, and salvation unto great happiness here below and forever and ever, amen.
So as God’s people, spreading faith and goodness throughout our world in the power of the Holy Spirit given to us, lets proclaim our glorious faith with new enthusiasm this Pentecost….
Prayers of the faithful
For our Holy Father and all the bishops of the church, that, like the apostles at Pentecost, they may fearlessly preach the Good News of salvation and bring all to the arms of the Risen lord..
For civil leaders that they may not be so carried way by the spirit of the world so as to hinder the spiritual welfare of the people they serve…
For our youth that having been filled with the Holy Spirit at their Confirmation when they vowed to practice and spread the faith, they may do so and be the light of God to the world..
For ourselves in our homes, work places and communities that we may be apostles for Christ and his Holy Spirit to our children and all we care for or come into contact with..
For the sick, the aged, the lonely and the needy in spirit, body or mind that through our care they may know the love of God..
For the dead that they may be raised up in the Spirit to heavenly bliss through their goodness and faithfulness here, and our continuing prayers for them as the powerful assembled faithful..
And we ask all these our prayers of the father through Christ in the power of the Spirit who is with us as the people of God forever and ever, amen.
Its amazing how the Spirit in certain saints still come down to us and inspire us even after thousands of years. People like Patrick or Francis or Brendan our diocesan patron. They still inspire because they were filled themselves with the Spirit of God which is timeless and whose effects go on and on. We all leave a legacy of good or ill when we die. Lets pray to Mother Mary, the greatest of the saints, who totally lived the Spirit of holiness, that she will help us, despite our natural failings that keep us humble, to leave an overall Spirit of faith, kindness and goodness to those who come after us..Hail Mary