Homily of 20th May 2018
Acts 2:1-11; 1 Cor 12:3B-7,12-13; JN 20:19-23
We know that creation is always in motion, always in transformation, that’s its evolutionary dynamic. It began with the movement of the spirit over the waters. And then God breathed the divine breath into Adam and he became a human being. As believers we know this creative movement of God will continue until it reaches its climax in the oneness of all things in Christ!
Right here at Mepkin we are gifted to behold the wonders of creation God has given us out of love and out of God’s desire to share this love. Here in this sacred place we feel this unfolding of love because we have come to experience those decisive moments of this transformation when God spoke through the Christ event. And Christ’s message is clear, love one another as I have loved you.
God’s creative word continues through Christ with the breath of New Life that is the Holy Spirit. That’s what we celebrate today. We live in another moment of transformation in a new world order brought about by the Spirit. We are the new creation, the very people of God living with God’s power and life in us. Brought together into the new community of humankind. The Tower of Babble is forever destroyed, there is a way to unity. The life of the Spirit is our new reality.
The challenge is to welcome this new life and to live it. There is so much to hold on to, to celebrate and to grasp with deeper and deeper meaning as we live this truth. This will energize us to live Christ. What comes to mind is the story in Luke 5, which has a connection to the gospel today. A paralytic is brought to Jesus on a mat, and Jesus forgives his sins. The Pharisees say who can forgive sins but God alone, Jesus responds: to show you that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins, he said to the paralytic, get up and walk. So, Jesus at Pentecost breathed on the disciples with the very breath of God. Then he said, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven.” And gave his authority to the Church. We are the Body of Christ.
All creation has been renewed in the Spirit of Christ. And of course we await the final movement of creation when it all comes to completion in the Kingdom of God when Christ returns to reign for all and in all. We now have the capacity to enter into this transformation in Christ which is the movement of the Spirit that culminates in OUR oneness with all creation along with Christ. Do we get the message of Pentecost?
We must take to heart St. Paul’s declaration as our own, “It is in God that I live and move have my being.” We are initiated into Christ at Baptism to become Christ for others. That’s how we seek to bring about the completion of the Kingdom. Christ at Pentecost gives us Peace and sends us out. This mindfulness of God’s life in us is what we seek to live and act out of at all times.
Paul instructs us in the letter to the Galatians with clear detail about the – how to – of this new life, he says to live the fruits of the Spirit. When we love others like Christ, we are living our new reality. Because we have lived with peace, joy, love, patience, kindness and generosity. Wouldn’t that be a blessing for us and our world!
We know how hard this can be to live out, especially today with our culture moving so quickly in directions that do not support community, nor acceptance of others that are not like us, so we are brought right to the crux of Christian life. Christian life is always the cross and resurrection. We must live out the Christ event in our own lives. There’s always a dying and rising. Giving up your own will is surely a dying to self, and being for others first is indeed a rising, because this forms us into Christ.
I found that Brene Brown’s book we are reading in the refectory helps to understand this new life. She gives a definition of Spirituality and the dictionary states that spirituality defines our true nature. Brene writes, “Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater then all of us, and that our connection to this power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion.” This is our life in Christ, because God is Love and Christ shows us God’s compassion. This is our Spirit life.
And that of course brings us to the Eucharist. We are empowered again and again by Christ himself to live in the Spirit. This prayer of gratitude for all God has given us in Christ energizes us, changes us, it’s like a fire burning in our hearts setting us on fire with faith, hope and love. It can be like Pentecost over and over because Eucharist forms us ever more deeply into Christ.
So, let me end with St. Augustine’s prayer of the Holy Spirit:
Breathe on me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work to may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.
Your spirit Lord is love, for our indifference toward others
Lord have mercy
Your spirit Lord is gentleness, for the hardness of our hearts of stone
Christ have mercy
Your Spirit Lord is new life, for the old life of sin that still dwells in us
Lord have mercy