The Password is SPIRIT

“Come, Holy spirit. . . . . You, Spirit of truth, are the reward of the saints, the refreshment of souls, light in darkness, the riches of the poor, the treasury of lovers, the satisfaction of the hungry, the consolation of the pilgrim church.” (Saint Mary Magdalen Dei Pazzi, 1566-1607)

Logging into a computer, doing on-line banking,  shopping on-line, using a debit card — and many other tasks require a password.  Some passwords are simply numbers — others require a combination of numbers and letters — some even require a symbol such as the asterisk.   Some of us have so many different passwords that we have to write them down to remember them — and we are frustrated when we cannot remember them!

Well, to be a living-Church, to be a faithful-disciple, to be a proclamation of the Gospel, we “need a password” — and today, on this FEAST OF PENTECOST, we are reminded that the password is SPIRIT.

Before Pentecost, the apostles were a “band of brothers”, they were followers of Jesus.  On Pentecost, they, and all upon whom the Spirit “fell”, BECAME THE CHURCH.    On Pentecost, the Church received its mission — to go into the whole world, to preach the good news, to feed the hungry, to care for the poor, and to share forgiveness of sin.

Bob Hope once said that you are old when the cost of the candles on your cake is greater than the cost of the cake itself.  It would take quite a cake to hold almost 2,000 candles.  But today, we are doing more than celebrating the birth of the Church — we are praying for a new outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit upon us — so that we can live as Church with a rich tradition but with an even richer destiny.

     In the coming presidential campaign — we will be reminded that America’s best days are yet to come.  And, I hope that is true …. it would be sad to think that everything is down hill from here.  The same is true for the Church and the Christian faith — our tradition is rich and we have a proud history —- but we also have a huge challenge and a great responsibility.    Today is not just for remembering — it is for be renewed by God’s spirit so that we can re-commit ourselves to Jesus and re-dedicate ourselves to THE MISSION.

[1]  THE ADVOCATE, enable us to speak an inviting language — one of the many images of Pentecost is that of everyone in the crowd being able to hear the apostles speak in “their own language” — one message, many languages — It is a real challenge for the Church today to speak in a way that challenges without offending and dividing.  To do this, we must first make sure that we are speaking with a word that comes from God and not merely a human word.  Secondly, we speak as a discerner of the truth and not as one who is “above the rest of mankind”.

[2]  THE ADVOCATE enables us to respect the gifts of others — there is but one Spirit [Lord] , but there are many gifts — there are many workings, but one God.  To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.  Our communities are called to welcome and to respect the different gifts that are among us …. and to allow the Spirit to act as the Spirit  wills.

[3] THE ADVOCATEenables us to forgive as we wish to be forgiven – Jesus gave the Spirit to the whole Church to impart forgiveness of sins.  Are we a forgiving people?  Do we allow people to move from their past into the present?

The early Church heard the wind and saw the fire!

We cannot see the wind — we can hear it, and we can see its effect as it blows through the trees and causes the flag to flutter — we see its terrible destructive power in tornadoes and hurricanes ….. do we see the impact of a spirit-led, “wind-blown” Church?

Fire can warm and cook — it can burn and kill, too.  How is the fire being used in the Church and by the Church today?

I remember an old man who complained about the preacher who ranted and raved while he marched around the sanctuary — the old man said,”lots of thunder and lightning, but not much rain!”  Wouldn’t that be a condemnation of us — our parish — our Church — lots of noise, but not much else happening.

God’s word will not return to him void or empty — the Spirit is alive and will rest upon the willing souls to make good things happen.  On this day of Pentecost — we remember, we celebrate, we believe.

PASS -THE- WORD … it is SPIRIT.

hjm

 

 

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