1 Corinthians 12:3B-7, 12-13
Greetings to you all on this great feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Church celebrates the paschal mystery, the perfect unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father and the Son breathe forth upon the Church and to the world with the Holy Spirit, the love that they share. The life of the Church is the life in the Holy Spirit, and we are now participating in the life of God. How blessed are we!
What does life in the Spirit look like? Let us reflect upon the magnificent account from the Acts of the Apostles, describing the Pentecost. "When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, ...a noise like a strong driving wind, ...filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim." (Ac 2:1-4) The Holy Spirit is like a strong driving wind. It is powerful, uprooting, overturning, uncontrollable, and unpredictable. Jesus says, "You do not know where it comes from or where it goes" (Jn 3:8). It is also transforming and life giving. It inspires descriptions like “tongues of fire” (Ac 2:3). All the spirit-filled apostles are going to become preachers to the world. All of them have received one or more “charismatic gifts”, namely the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, increased faith, the gifts of healing, the gift of miracles, prophecy, the discernment of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues. Christians have witnessed this in-rushing of the Holy Spirit up and down the centuries. Importantly, this stirring up of charismatic gifts is for the sake of the gospel, and building up the Church and Christian lives.
Throughout history, the Church has contributed tremendously to the world. It preaches, participates in social outreach and communities’ organization, visits the sick and the homeless, educates children, and initiates vast varieties of missions. The good works performed by the Church are always of great value, but they will not have been possible without the Holy Spirit. We cannot achieve all these missions through our own heroic efforts, but rather, by asking for it. Therefore, the Church, at its earliest and primitive moment, gathered precisely for that purpose, to pray and to beg for the Holy Spirit. It should also be a great comfort to us as Jesus is saying the Father would never refuse anyone who asks for the Holy Spirit. If you ask and beg for the Holy Spirit, knock on the door for the Holy Spirit, He will always give us the Holy Spirit.
Speaking of the charismatic gifts, every baptized person should have at least one of the gifts. "We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,...with cheerfulness” (Rm 12: 6-8). When the Holy Spirit stirs us up, and we find our charismatic gifts, we must make that the centre of our life. Everything else in us now should find its place around the gifts. Everything else should make good use of the gifts, educate us further in that way, and help us to express them. To find our characteristic gifts is to find the pearl of great price, the treasure buried in the field. Jesus says when you find that pearl, “sells all that you have and buys it” (Mt 13:46). To obtain our greatest joy, we should order our lives this way, and that is what our life is about.
So, on this Pentecost Sunday, let us say unceasingly, "Veni Sancte Spiritus" (Come, Holy Spirit)! Let us also be opened to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, this extraordinary manifestation of God's Spirit. Let us be receptive and opened to what the Spirit might do in our lives. Have a blessed Pentecost.
This is an excerpt from Bishop Robert Barron’s homilies, including
“The Dangerous Spirit” ,
“The Feast of the Spirit” , and
“The Falling of the Fire” .
For more information, please visit WordOnFire.org .