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The Spirit Is A Movin'

Pentecost Sunday

May 15th, 2016

 

 

 

Reading 1

Acts 2:1-11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven
staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”


Ps 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34

Responsorial Psalm

R. (cf. 30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
the earth is full of your creatures;
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD be glad in his works!
Pleasing to him be my theme;
I will be glad in the LORD.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.


Reading 2

1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13

Brothers and sisters:
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.

As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.



Gospel

Jn 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”


 

 

 

 

 

 

        As I reflect on this reading, the thought crosses my mind that the promise of the Holy Spirit by Jesus after he has ascended into heaven, is a very profound message for his followers at that time, and perhaps for those who follow him today.  One thing comes across quite clearly to me is that Jesus, his Father, and the Spirit, are one in the same God, a mystery that many perhaps cannot comprehend.  He had already told them before that when he left, he was going to sent a Paraclete.  And, in essence, simply said, “Guys, if you think I have performed miracles, when the Spirit comes, you will be able to do things that I haven’t done thus far.”  At least I believe that is the intention of what he said.  We can still act as if it is all about others.  I say that because I think that we’ll rarely experience the pouring out of the Holy Spirit exactly as the apostles did; winds roared, tongues of fire leaped upon their heads, they shrunk in terror at the unexplained spectacle and even began to speak in languages unknown.

 

        Perhaps we would like for the Spirit to express himself that dramatically in this day and age to us.  Has he?  Maybe to some.  It is more realistic, perhaps, to understand that the Holy Spirit is given to each person as a unique individual who is integral to the life of those around him or her.

        Paul spoke about the influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, yours and mine.  “No one can say,” he wrote, “Jesus is Lord except in the Spirit.”  All the services rendered to each other, all the works we work, all the gifts and talents we use, it is all from the same Spirit.

 

        The Jerusalem wind and fire is over.  Jesus does not appear anymore.  But the Spirit remains.  As Paul wrote, “It remains in the humdrum of our daily lives, hidden and mostly unnoticed by us.”  Being unnoticed does not mean not being there!  Perhaps we need to become aware of the unnoticed experiences we have.  Our breathing goes on all the time, so become aware of our breathing.  Our hearing, for the most part, remains functional, so become aware of our hearing.  We feel bodily sensations all the time.  Become aware of those feelings.  Without some concentration, the presence of the Holy Spirit, the fruits of Pentecost, will remain as unnoticed to us as our breathing, hearing, and bodily sensations.

 

        Pentecost is about us.  It is about our takeoff with the Spirit.  With that Spirit, we have to fly in all directions.  But that is another difficulty, that variety in the Spirit.  The Spirit is given at different times: the third day, the fiftieth day, and every day since.  The Spirit is given in different ways: in the enthusiasm and excitement of a gifted speaker, a poem, in the smile of a child, in the quiet of our praying, in the listening of a spiritual song or a gospel hymn.

 

 The Spirit is given in different gifts: in the gift of peacemaking, forgiving, speaking in tongues, healing, dancing, singing, playing, and praising the Lord.  Jesus laid the foundation for our journey to the Kingdom of God when he said, “Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me.”  Although he promised us the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, we have to make it happen.  We have to allow the Spirit into our hearts? 

 

My friends, it is no secret that we are living in the most difficult times in the history or our country.  It is no longer just about our failing economy, loss of jobs, and homes.  It is much more than that.  We are confronted with a President and his entire administration that seems to deny our God, seems to deny human life, seems to deny our equal rights, and to disregard the voice of the American people.  The moral decay of this country, perpetuated by our President should be very alarming to everyone.  His ideology of an evil doing, it is everything that goes against the teaching of Jesus Christ, and designed to divide and destroy this country, and unfortunately, far too many people remain silent.  Beiing silent is not a response my friends, it is a copout, it is lazy, and just furthers his and his part's agenda.  Something is very wrong with this.  We need so desperately to pray and pray to the Holy Spirit, and pray some more, for the existence of our country is at stake.  We must believe that only God in the person of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, sees this atrocities of this desire, and bring it to an end.  That is our only hope, and we must cling to it.

 

 

The differences are so great and the difficulties so alarming, that even while we are engulfed in all of this, Paul is quoted from his letter to Corinth where Jesus’ followers threatened to split up because they were all flying in different directions.  Yet those in Corinth were at least flying.  It is those fliers that Paul wrote.

 

        Let us belong to those who fly on the wind of that Spirit, and let us fly together into the dawn of the Kingdom to come!

 

 

© Deacon Steve A. Politte

May 15th, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

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