Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Rush of a Mighty Wind - Pentecost Sunday

Reflections on the Readings

Solemnity of Pentecost - May 23, 2010, Year C

By Dennis Hankins


Readings For This Sunday

The Rush of a Mighty Wind

And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

Turn to page five in your Pilgrim's Guide. 

Everyone attending a Cursillo Retreat is familiar with the opening prayer of every talk given.  On page five of the Pilgrim's Guide is the prayer to the Holy Spirit:

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of us your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created.  And you shall renew the face of the earth.

I have been to three Cursillo Retreats, first as a candidate and twice as part of the leadership team.  Each time I witnessed the wind of the Holy Spirit blow into our midst changing us, reviving us, and imbuing us with a power not of this world. 

We assign labels to people and their experiences.  Especially we do this to people and their experiences we don't understand.  Let's try it once: 'Those tongue talking, shouting, imbalanced, off center, holy roller Pentecostals. Who do they think they are?  Some might even laugh along.  It is good to note that those tongue talking, holy shouting, imbalanced, off center, holy rollers, also emulated the master in their prayers, their fasting, in their caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, and embracing each other as brothers and sisters in the Lord.  The full gospel is what they call their experience in the Lord.

Jesus says, "the wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit."  Claiming an ability to predict the effects of the Holy Spirit on a believer is akin to claiming absolute certainty about the origin and destination of the wind.  It is a futile effort.

This is not to say the Holy Spirit is chaotic.  Just the opposite.  He works upon the dismal abyss of our chaotic lives bringing order, design, and beauty.  Temples of the Holy Spirit is what St. Paul calls us.  Only the mysterious presence of the Holy Spirit can effect such creations of new beings.  We ought to pray often, inviting with expectation, the Holy Spirit into our lives, so that  we might always be 'new creations' in Christ Jesus.

Pope John Paul II in TERTIO MILLENNIO ADVENIENTE  speaks eloquently of the role of the Holy Spirit in the 21st century and in the new evangelization.  It is the Holy Spirit that makes possible the religion "of dwelling in the heart of God," of sharing in God's very life, says John Paul II.  Expanding on this the Pope quotes the Apostle Paul saying, "God has sent the Spirit of his son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba!'  'Father!'"  

Speaking of the new evangelization, JPII again, "In our day too, the Spirit is the principle agent of the new evangelization. Hence it will be important to gain a renewed appreciation of the Spirit as the One who builds the Kingdom of God within the course of human history and prepares its full manifestation in Jesus Christ, stirring people's hearts and quickening in our world the seeds of the full salvation which will come at the end of time."

We come today to the birthday of the Church.  Today is a good time to become docile to the Holy Spirit.  It is as necessary today as it ever was to be submissive to and led by the Holy Spirit.  He is the way, the means by which the Father and the Son are present to us.  Someone has stated that the Father is the Lover, the Son is the Beloved, and the Spirit is the Love.  It is a mysteriously deep truth.  But Pope John Paul II says, "The Holy Spirit, who searches the depths of God (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10), leads us, all mankind, into these depths by virtue of the sacrifice of Christ. 

May the rush of a mighty wind descend upon our hearts! Come Holy Spirit, and fill the hearts of your people.  Awaken in us the joy of our salvation.  Renew in the Church the memory of her Lord. Enable her to shine the light of Christ without fear.  Blow O mighty wind of God upon us as in a new Pentecost, renewing in our day the power of signs and wonders of the Holy Spirit. 

And everybody said, "Amen!" 

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