Today we celebrate the Spirit’s coming to begin the church. We pray that we will all go out like the apostles from reception of that Spirit at baptism and confirmation to bring the world to Christ. We ask forgiveness for any indifference to that call.
Today is the Spirit’s age. Once a ghostly figure, we now see him as the key to all good life in the church and the world. Indeed, we feel his presence, or the opposite, when we encounter a person, a home or nation. He’s what’s good and holy in each human life. Once at an audience with John Paul 11, I felt his warmth envelope us. That’s true of people we meet each day, they radiate goodness, put us at ease. That’s the Spirit, what’s individual, humane and special in us. But a contrary spirit can rule. I hope I’m wrong, is there a colder more cynical spirit abroad now?
Yeats said of our independence struggle that we had to rebuild the soul of a country lost in years of occupation, the land’s creative proud independent spirit. Is that sold out now to the EU, IMF, imported ideology? Certainly, a harder spirit, anti-religious and negative about things, makes me cringe. The Holy Spirit, as Paul says, is always positive, creative and kindly, building up not pulling down. God forbid that the worldly heartless spirit of which Satan is lord should rule us and we become wholly materialistic and irreligious. Not even the church seems immune from a new spirit abroad with mass attendance and vocations falling. I shudder to see young people giving up on life and God today, as false ideologies take the spiritual ground from under them. Should we give up too in this climate?
No! Our feast snaps us out of any tendency to be disheartened. Its message is of joy and hope. Christ ascending to the Father to become universal Lord. From his throne he sent his Spirit to bring his saving grace to all nations. That Spirit’s with us forever, ensuring the final victory God and of his Christ. Lets put aside fear then. The Spirit’s eternal presence means contrary negative forces are transitory, like the dog that has its day.
For God’s Spirit is always more powerful than the destructive spirit of the world, the flesh and the devil. The early church despite terrible persecution knew this; the apostles went out in his power to face fierce sufferings and birth the church. They were brokenhearted when Christ left, but knew He had to go. So that the Spirit could come, the church be born, and His power liberate all from the worldly kingdom of despair and death. The faith is under attack now. But its gone through worse crises and come out stronger. I see the Spirit’s hand even in revelations of church corruption, he constantly purifies the church for us.
In this too he’s victorious over negative and destructive forces of the corrupt world present in the church in its human aspects. For that indestructible Spirit is with us till the end of time: “behold I’m with you all days even to the end of the world and the gates of hell will not prevail against you”. Our task is to promote in our lives, families, society and country, through prayer, the mass, the sacraments, and active charity, the Spirit we received at Baptism and Confirmation. As such faithful servants of the church born at Pentecost that we’ll be raised to glory. For the hard corrupt world’s spirit of which Satan is lord fades to dust and ashes at last, but Christ’s Spirit is life, goodness, peace, faith, hope, beauty and salvation for our deeper happiness this world and forever and ever, amen. So God’s own reflecting the Holy Spirit of faith hope and love in our lives so as to redeem our broken world lets profess our faith
Prayers of the Faithful
And as the people of God gathered in the grace of the Holy Spirit let us pray for the things that we need with confidence to our heavenly Father who always listens to his people.
For our holy Father and all leaders of the church throughout the world that they may respond to the Holy Spirit in their own lives and be his holy presence to the world at large..
For civic leaders, may they serve the spiritual and material needs of the people they rule, with generosity and love…
For our wonderful young people, that reflecting God’s good spirit, they may serve generously in the church; we pray especially for First Communion and Confirmation children, that they will keep their vows to be faithful practicing Christians..
For ourselves in our homes and work places, may we reflect the Spirit of God that we received at baptism and Confirmation and so be light of faith and goodness to our families and community..
For all those in need around us – the sick, the aged, the lonely and the poor – that we may respond to them with generous love and care and so bring the healing Spirit of Christ to all…
For the dead, especially those for whom we now pray…that they may be raised up to the throne of God in the Spirit forever…
And we ask all these prayers through Christ in the Spirit to the Father who always heeds such ardent prayers, amen.
Recently we’d father’s day. Sometimes in a Feminist age we can forget the key role of fathers in society. God is seen as our perfect father. Christ describes him as Abba, or Daddy. All of us can address God in similar terms, for the church is a family and we’re his children. Mary, our mother, completes the family. So to dads and mums out there, struggling to bring up families in love, hang in there. You’re special and your reward will be great in heaven. Indeed, lets pray for all wonderful parents in the parish, mothers and fathers, to our mother in heaven…Hail Mary