Today’s reflection is for Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020, and the readings can be found by clicking here.
Years ago, I remember watching a commercial for Red Stripe Lager, from Jamaica. With Reggae music playing in the background, a very happy Jamaican man said, “Red Stripe, helping our white friends dance for over seventy years!” Now, I don’t know how true that is (Deacon Valgos has some pretty good moves without Red Stripe), but what I do know is this, the Holy Spirit has been helping our Christian friends be amazing for over 2,000 years! That’s what the Spirit does—It makes me, It makes us, It makes the world amazing.
Today we celebrate Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ disciples and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are given to us to make us and the world amazing again! Out of love, God gave us his Spirit to change us into Christ’s body, and then gave us the gifts we need to transform everyone and everything we encounter.
After Jesus’ resurrection he promised his disciples that he would send the Advocate, the Spirit of God, and then fifty days later Jesus made good on that promise! The Holy Spirit came rushing in and Jews from every nation under God gathered together to be confused, astounded, and utterly amazed! The Spirit gave ordinary men from Galilee the gifts they needed to share the truth of Salvation in Jesus Christ. And about three thousand people were baptized and saved that very day.
My friends, the Holy Spirit has not gone anywhere! The Spirit is still alive in God’s Church. As Christians we still receive the Spirit at Baptism, It is still strengthened at Confirmation, and It’s gifts can still, through us, make the Glory of God visible to the world. By caring about and working for environmental justice, with schools and hospitals, with food shelters, and ministry to the poorest, with concern and support for immigrants in every land, the Church continues, to make the world a more amazing place! We need to be on board with the ministry and mission of the Church and Jesus, and the Spirit gives us gifts to do just that!
You know that the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. Pope St. Gregory the Great said, “The Holy Spirit gives wisdom against foolishness, understanding against dullness, counsel against rashness, fortitude against fear, knowledge against ignorance, piety against hardness of heart, and fear of the Lord against pride.” That’s amazing.
Friends, we cannot do anything without the Holy Spirit! In fact, that’s what St. Paul told the Corinthians in today’s second reading. He said, “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is incredible! He is the Lord the giver of life, is adored and glorified, and has spoken through the prophets! (Sound familiar?) The Spirit made Christ present in Mary’s womb, makes Christ present in the Eucharist, in the Scriptures proclaimed, and in the Priest through whom God grants forgiveness of sins, making us amazing again and again, and fit for salvation.
The Spirit makes water holy, oil holy, and moly holy! I’m not even sure what moly is, but I hear people talk about Holy moly all the time! Holy Moly, holy cows, holy smoke, and holy mackerel are just a hint about how God is transforming the world. Okay, that’s a bit of a joke, but the truth is that Pentecost is a reminder that each of us too has received God’s Spirit and It’s gifts and have been made holy to make the world holy; consecrated to God. We are called to join God each day in His work of renewing the earth, making all things holy. Red Stripe may or may not help men dance, but the Spirit of God does indeed make his Church amazing.
Each day we wake, we pray the words of the Psalmist, “Lord, send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth,” with us, in me. Holy Spirit, make the world amazing through us…through me today.