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  • Fr Daniel

The Day of Pentecost

We listen to/sing along with: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjdMWFrd4Vo

Pray:

God, who as at this time

taught the hearts of your faithful people

by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:

grant us by the same Spirit

to have a right judgement in all things

and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;

through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen.

We read:

https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/texts.php?id=47

We sing/listen to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3UYybc7Xa0

O King enthroned on high, Comforter and Spirit of truth, you that are in all things, the treasury of blessings and giver of life, come and dwell with us, cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O gracious one. Amen.

Towards the end of his life, the great Protestant theologian Karl Barth was asked the following question: “as we move into the future, what must be emphasized in the life of the church?’ Barth responded instantly: “the Holy Spirit”.

At the end of his life, Pope John XXIII was asked almost exactly the same question: “what is the thing that we need to emphasize most in the future theology of the church?” Without hesitation he gave the very same answer: “the Holy Spirit”.

In the 1960s the Holy Spirit was reclaimed as the ‘quickening power by which Christianity was built up in the world’. If we wish to see ‘Christianity built up in the world’ as did Barth and Pope John we need to ask ourselves a number of questions on this holy day:

Who is the Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit do? How do you experience the Holy Spirit?

So firstly, who is the Holy Spirit?

O King enthroned on high, Comforter and Spirit of truth, you that are in all things, the treasury of blessings and giver of life.

Those words from the Orthodox Church, remind us, first and foremost, that the Holy Spirit is above all a person – a person to encounter – because we believe in the God of the encounter: the Holy Spirit who is King, just like the Father and the Son.

The Holy Spirit is not like the force in Star Wars, something impersonal and changeable open to the whims of the world, the Holy Spirit is the fullness of God in all things – the glue that holds all things together – the one who proceeds from the Father and the Son uniting them in communion; he is the Spirit of love poured out on all flesh (Joel 2.28). And he is the presence of God, ‘eternally giving himself’ to humanity.

Why did Barth and John XXIII call for a focus on the Holy Spirit? Because quite simply ‘the world had [and has] forgotten God’ (Pope Francis) or in the words of St John’s gospel: the world ‘cannot receive’ him (John 14.17). God has been relegated to the margins; we need only look at society today – we see it in the mass media, in our conversations with others, in our attempts to evangelise and share the Good News. And yet, as we know, the Holy Spirit does indeed give life – we as a Church are attracting new people, the Holy Spirit is moving in the hearts of his people, drawing them to him, drawing them to the truth and peace which passes all understanding. The Holy Spirit is indeed the giver of life. He is the life giver because he is a person. Only a person can give life, and he is the source of all life.

And so, what then does the Holy Spirit do?

Cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O gracious one.

The Holy Spirit is the one who leads us into all truth. He is the one who confirms and equips the people of God with gifts, with charismata to live in the world – so that the news of the Gospel may be proclaimed in every land. The Holy Spirit’s agenda is to equip the Church for mission in the world. And in so doing, to sanctify the world, to make it holy, precisely so that we may come to the glory of God, as Paul describes in the letter to the Romans. The Holy Spirit is the one that cleanses us from every stain; working in us and drawing us further into the life of God, so that we can call on the name of the Lord, in the sure knowledge that ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved’ (Acts 2. 21).

It is through the Holy Spirit that the work of salvation is made present in this and every generation, now that Jesus is ascended to the right hand of the Father. The Spirit prays within us and unites our hearts with the very heart of God, so that we may be one with his purpose.

How then do we experience the Holy Spirit?

‘Come and dwell with us’

We experience the Holy Spirit when we are open to the possibility, when we let him pray and work within us, when we actively cultivate the relationship with him.

We experience the Holy Spirit precisely through the gifts that Christ has left to his Church – the sacraments – which are his enduring presence until he comes to judge the living and the dead. Through these outward signs of inward grace we are enabled. We are enabled as God’s people to be his vessels, his agents in the world, ones who have been touched by grace, ones who are determined to speak the truth into that society which has largely forgotten God.

When we are in the Holy Spirit we will actively challenge the world in which we live ‘against the culture of forgetting God’. When we are in the Holy Spirit, we will promote the truth. When we live in the Holy Spirit we experience the ‘quickening power by which Christianity was built up in the world’.

And now, as the people of God, confirmed by the Spirit on this holy day, to stop the world forgetting God, let us be one with in and through the Holy Spirit, the one who leads us into all truth.

O King enthroned on high, Comforter and Spirit of truth, you that are in all things, the treasury of blessings and giver of life, come and dwell with us, cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O gracious one. Amen.

Pray:

Faithful God,

who fulfilled the promises of Easter

by sending us your Holy Spirit

and opening to every race and nation

the way of life eternal:

open our lips by your Spirit,

that every tongue may tell of your glory;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We sing/listen to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXO4rqBQOAU

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