Acts 2: 1-11 – 1 Corinthians 12: 3b-7, 12-13 – John 20: 19-23
It seems appropriate, at least to me, now that we are able to gather again, to share the Eucharist and to be with others who are familiar to us, that this takes place on Pentecost, which has traditionally been called the “birthday” of the Church. There is, indeed, a sense of rebirth, a sense of starting over again, after two long months. In a way, perhaps more so than previously, we can appreciate that Pentecost celebrates the reality of the presence of the Holy Spirit with us.
Our Faith declares to us, and by us, that we enjoy a relationship with God. It is a relationship that is vibrant. It is a relationship that is genuine. It is at the core of our Faith that God is with us, that God is part of our lives. God is not aloof from us. God has not abandoned us. God is present in every aspect of our lives. Pentecost celebrates the very intimacy which we share with our God through the Holy Spirit dwelling with us. It is an intimacy that affects us. It is an intimacy that transforms us in the way we live and how we truly value life itself.
Think of our human experience because it provides us an insight into the effect of this bond with our loving God. When we know that we are loved by another person, when we sense a close bond with the one who loves us, it makes a significance difference to us. It affects us in a profound manner. All the more is this to be true for us because of God’s love for us.
It is this aware ness that helps to explain the different images of the presence of the Holy Spirit that are given in the Scriptures Each image presents an insight into the love of God found in the presence of the Spirit. But each images is also inadequate in fully describing God’s presence with us in the Spirit.
In the Gospel of Saint John, for example, heard ta the Vigil Mass for Pentecost, the emphasis is on the presence of the Spirit as being “refreshing” like water is for one who is thirsty. This is only one of the familiar images from the Scriptures used to describe the presence of the Holy Spirit. Other illustrations used are: wind, which can be both refreshing and powerful; fire, which both gives light and also burns; a dove that is envisioned as both beautiful and peaceful.
The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the presence of God with us, if we are truly active in our response, affects in all these ways. The Spirit’s power enables us to changer our lives, to make us truly come alive. The Spirit presence can be refreshing in the literal sense of the word, in rooting out the old and in making us new, in the same way that the earth is renewed and made fresh again. The presence of the Spirit enlightens us with new knowledge, new perception in realizing God’s plan in our word. The presence of the Spirit also inflames us with desire and passion for proclaiming the Good News, the Gospel of our Lord. And it is the present of the Spirit with us that can bring us profound peace of mind, heart, and spirit.
Perhaps now, more than at any other time in our lives, when we have experienced the confusion of the past two months that continues, we need to be reminded of the presence of the Spirit of God in all these ways. It is the Holy Spirit, the abiding and graced presence of God that we celebrate today, who seeks to affect every aspect of our lives. Let us pray that we can show forth now and in the days, the weeks, the months top come, a genuine sense of hope, renewal and trust in our good and gracious God.