Monday, April 16, 2012

A first hint of Pentecost

Did you notice how "pentecostal" the Mass readings are today, the first day after the Octave of Easter? It is as if the Church can hardly wait for the 50th day of the season; as if the mystery of Easter isn't "complete" with Jesus' rising from the dead, or even his Ascension: it seems as if the whole point is to make us capable of receiving the Holy Spirit from the Risen Christ. As Jesus said at the Last Supper, "Unless I go, the Paraclete will not come to you, but when I go, I will send him to you."

In the first reading, "the house where they were gathered shook as they prayed" and "they were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God's word boldly." This wasn't Pentecost! This was just an example of the Church praying fervently during a time of danger and stress. In the Gospel, we have those solemn words of Jesus, "The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

I think that one of the biggest spiritual challenges in life is precisely that we don't know where that breath of the Spirit is going. I would be a little more eager to surrender to the Lord ... on my own terms!

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