June 04, 2017
Why are there so many Jews in Jerusalem? They have traveled great distances to commemorate the Jewish feast Shavout. It recalls the Hebrew people camped at Mt. Sinai – 50 days after departing Egypt. Here Moses receives the 10 Commandments and God enters into covenant with the People of Israel. St. Luke tells us in ACTS on this feast, after the Ascension of the Lord, the apostles including women and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, are gathered in the “upper room” with accord in prayer. There comes a noise of a driving wind and tongues of fire – the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Both Shavout and Pentecost are foundational events, first for the Hebrew nation who will become the Jewish people, and then for us, birth of the Church. It is a light & sound show: thunder, lightning, smoke & fire and noise, wind & tongues of fire -- the Bible’s way of describing the invisible presence of the power of God.
It is a grand event. But we must not forget the movement of the Holy Spirit or indwelling of God in those baptized and confirmed. The Holy Spirit is the love between the Father and Son infused in us or God’s indwelling. The Holy Spirit activates potential or God given instilled virtues. Isaiah speaks of gifts: courage, wisdom, knowledge, understanding and fear of the Lord. St. Paul writes to the Galatians regarding fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, endurance, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness and chastity. Paul also writes to the Corinthians about spiritual gifts endowed for the benefit of the community.
The Holy Spirit heightens reverence for life, sets a moral compass (conscience) to discern between good and evil; stimulates an urge to pray; calls us to repentance and forgiveness; deepens compassionate concern for someone suffering a tragedy; expresses outrage against injustice; and kindles hope & provides direction for the future. Yesterday/Saturday I noticed/felt outpourings of the Spirit (breath) of God: at a wake comforting broken hearts; at the cathedral ordaining 4 deacons to priesthood; at a wedding sustaining a couple to be faithful to their vows; and in our gym inspiring family and friends to hold a benefit for a woman waiting for a lung transplant.
Today let us be open to receive and to request a burst of the Holy Spirit to activate the special gift/fruit/virtue that we need to face the challenges and opportunities life is offering to us. “Come Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love.”
Seventh Sunday of Easter
Most Holy Trinity