May 27, 2007
Reflections on the Readings by Dennis Hankins
Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
I Corinthians 12:3-7, 102-13
Theme: Except by the Holy Spirit
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
The Church of my youth was the Pentecostal Church. It was there I received the Lord and was filled with the Holy Spirit. It was in that Church founded by my Great-Grandfather where I heard and read the stories of men and women full of the Holy Spirit.
From my father, I heard true stories of a layman named Mr. Huebner from Ohio, mightily and graciously a vessel of the charismata, i.e. manifestations of the Spirit. At about age 45, daddy left the Pentecostal Church and entered into full-time Pastoral Ministry in the United Methodist Church. During the interview process by the Board of Ordained Ministry, daddy was asked how he would handle his understanding of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues as a UMC pastor. Daddy was never one who would deny what the Lord had done for him. So his response was, “I would never force what I have experienced in the Holy Spirit on anyone and I cannot deny what God has done for me. However, I would highly recommend it!” Daddy served the UMC as a pastor for 30 years, and entered into his heavenly rest in May of 2006
What a privilege it was to have been taught by mature and wise parents about the ministry and purpose of the Holy Spirit. It was they who inspired me to desire the deep and good things God has prepared for us. From my earliest memory, it has been my understanding that the Holy Spirit would be in us as rivers of living water. Jesus said, “He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, `Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water." Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
On the Day of Pentecost, Jesus’ glorification and ascension having occurred just 10 days before, the text says they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. And the message that ensued was that Jesus Is Lord. The message of the Holy Spirit is that Jesus is Lord in heaven and on earth and in the Church. Animated by this Spirit of the Lord, it is the Church who proclaims in word and sacrament that Jesus loves us, forgives us, and will never leave us or forsake us. Today, filled by the same Holy Spirit as the 120 on the Day of Pentecost, our message is their message and that is Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
This prayer of Blessed John XXIII can be our prayer today:
"O Holy Spirit, Paraclete, perfect in us the work begun by Jesus: enable us to continue to pray fervently in the name of the whole world: hasten in everyone of us the growth of a profound interior life; give vigour to our apostolate so that it may reach all men and all peoples, all redeemed by the Blood of Christ and all belonging to him. Mortify in us our natural pride, and raise us to the realms of holy humility, of real fear of God, of generous courage. Let no earthly bond prevent us from honouring our vocation, no cowardly considerations disturb the claims of justice, no meanness confine the immensity of charity within the narrow bounds of petty selfishness. Let everything in us be on a grand scale: the search for truth and the devotion to it, and readiness for self-sacrifice, even to the cross and death; and may everything finally be according to the last prayer of the Son to his heavenly Father, and according to the pouring out of your Spirit, O Holy Spirit of love, whom the Father and the Son desired to be poured out over the Church and her institutions, over the souls of men and of nations." (Discorsi Messaggi Colloqui, cit., IV, p. 350).
Come Holy Spirit, come. AMEN.