for Sunday, June 12, 2011
Pentecost! Each of us needs the Holy Spirit to come to us and bring us
wisdom and knowledge. Jesus Christ our Lord sends the Holy Spirit to us,
whether we acknowledge that presence or not. We have to remember that in
the early Church some people even received the Holy Spirit before they were
baptized. Always the Gospel tells us that God can work in His own ways
and does not have to follow what we think He should do.
The reading from the Acts of the Apostles shows us one of the great
effects that the Holy Spirit can have on a believing community: there is
communication which surprises every one. We don't have to think just of
all kinds of speaking tongues - because it is clear that speaking in tongues
in not the primary focus. The focus is on the fact that everyone
understood everyone else. This is a healing of the story that we find
early in the Scriptures when people want to build a tower to heaven and
then are separated so that they can no longer understand one another. Here
we have the healing of that lack of understanding.
The reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians reminds us that every
gift of God is for building up the community. These gifts are not given to
glorify one or the other person in the Church, but to help form community
together in Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of John today reminds us that the gift of the Spirit is also
about the pardon of sins. Anyone who has ever tried marriage or religious
community knows that without pardoning one another, such communities would
cease to exist. We humans are still sinners and when we live together we
must be able constantly to pardon one another and move forward in the love
and compassion of Jesus Christ.
Another aspect of the gift of the Holy Spirit is to take away our fears of
speaking about Jesus and about proclaiming our faith. Most of us are not
going to be martyrs, yet we must remember that there are probably more
martyrs today than there ever have been in the history of the Church. More
and more Christians are being killed simply because they are Christians.
There is more and more agitation also to break down the teachings of the
Catholic Church and to destroy her moral authority. There is no doubt that
some of the crisis about sexual abuse in the current Church is not about
the abuse itself but about breaking the authority of the Church and trying
to show that the Church is not better than any other institution.
One of the gifts of the Church is that She seems always able to be
renewed. This is because the Holy Spirit is at the heart of our Church.
Our Church is not simply another human institution. The Church is Jesus
Christ present here on earth in a human and divine way. Because the Church
is also people, there is sin and brokenness.
Come, Holy Spirit! Renew the faith in your Church. Show us the fire of
your love. Help us to live your love in our lives and give witness to You.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: