“Come, Holy Spirit, enlighten our minds and enkindle with us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and renew the face of the earth!”
Many folks are familiar with the saying, “If March roars in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb.” March is one of the most unpredictable months weather-wise. The month of March is long gone but the saying is one we can use to help us understand more fully the beautiful Feast of Pentecost we are celebrating today.
Our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles and our Gospel account give us two powerful images of the Holy Spirit. Acts describes the Spirit as roaring in like a lion, a strong driving wind which filled the entire house, and tongues like fire resting on each one present. In the Gospel we have the Spirit coming like a gentle lamb, the warm breath of Jesus breathing on them and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
The disciples were gathered in the Upper Room in Jerusalem behind locked doors, paralyzed by fear. Jesus appears to them in the midst of their distress offering them the gift of his peace, an inner peace that the world cannot give. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the gifts that the Spirit now gives, Jesus invites them to open the door and share the same gifts with the world in his name.
As the sky opened over the City of Jerusalem, those gathered from the various nations were astounded, not only by what they heard but also what they understood. The feast today reminds us that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is that of understanding. We who come from a variety of origins and perspectives are given this gift to seek common ground in a world that is divided.
The Holy Spirit moves us, sometimes gently and at other times shaking us to the core of our being, out of our comfortable way of living, to seeing the vision of the kingdom as Jesus proclaimed it and inviting us to live it.
Pentecost changed the disciples from being a group living in fear to a band of bold and courageous witnesses of the Risen Christ. It was a new beginning for them and the same holds true for us. May this feast challenge us to open our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our hearts to receive the Kingdom of God. May we, like the apostles, be bold and courageous witnesses in a world that desperately needs to hear the Gospel and see it being lived. Whether the Holy Spirit comes to us as a lion or a lamb, what comes next, like the weather, is unpredictable. Our invitation is to welcome the Holy Spirit and to be open to the ways in which we can and will be changed, and through us, how the world can be transformed!
“Come, Holy Spirit!”
- Father Dennis, May 31, 2020