-- Alternative Gospel Jn 15:26-27; 16:12-15
Acts 2, 1-11; Psalm 104; 1 Cor 12, 3-7. 12-13; John 20, 19-23
Veni Sancte Spiritus! Come Holy Spirit!
As the third millennium unfolds with all of its uncertainties, wars and violence of other kinds, some are filled with dread, their minds given over to imaginings and fantasies. Some are drawn to groups which preach superstition, placing hope in the comets or imaginary creatures from other planets. These idolatries are an abomination. "You shall have no other Gods before me." For Christians, the dawning of a new millennium after Christ's birth marked the renewal of life in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and renewed commitment to the true faith bestowed in Jesus Christ. Both are gifts of God the Father to the Church in these "last days" before Christ comes again.
On the day of Pentecost, when the seven weeks of Easter had come to an end, Christ's Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance. The Holy Spirit’s coming as promised by Christ as a gift from the Father inaugurates the “last days” of which Christ spoke during his earthly life and, at the same time, equips the faithful with the wisdom necessary to grasp a proper understanding of what the “last days” mean.
On that day, the Holy Trinity is fully revealed. Since that day, the Kingdom announced by Christ has been open to those who believe in him: in the humility of the flesh and in faith, they already share in the communion of the Holy Trinity. By his coming, which never ceases, the Holy Spirit causes the world to enter into the ‘last days,’ the time of the Church, the Kingdom already inherited though not yet consummated.” (CCC 732)
In these, the “last days”, life in the Spirit enables the baptized believer to begin already a transition from this world which will one day end to the fullness of life in the Trinity which will never end. Thus the Spirit gives a foretaste of eternal joy by “pouring” abundantly “into our hearts” the eternal love of God.“We have seen the true Light, we have received the heavenly Spirit, we have found the true faith: we adore the indivisible Trinity, who has saved us.”
The Lord Jesus associates the Church with himself, so that the body of believers are one in the Holy Spirit and the "Body of Christ". St. Paul learned this well when, thrown from his horse in the midst of his vociferous persecution of Christians, Christ called out to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" The Eucharistic Sacrifice is the most perfect earthly work of the Church. Our role as baptized members of the Body of Christ reaches its most exalted moment each time we offer ourselves as a spiritual sacrifice in union with Christ through the prayers and hymns of the Eucharist.
At last Jesus' hour arrives: (Cf. Jn 13:1; 17:1) he commends his spirit into the Father's hands (Cf. Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30) at the very moment when by his death he conquers death, so that, "raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,"(Rom 6:4) ">he might immediately give the Holy Spirit by "breathing" on his disciples. (Cf. Jn 20:22) From this hour onward, the mission of Christ and the Spirit becomes the mission of the Church: "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." (Jn 20:21; cf. Mt 28:19; Lk 24:47-48; Acts 1:8) (CCC 731)
Our Holy Father Benedict XVI has invited us to discover the joy of living our Faith. The sending of His Holy Spirit by our heavenly Father is the gift of divine joy for us to receive in our hearts and to share with others that it may continue to grow, a grace “welling up to eternal life”. The grace of joy, the fruit of faithful confidence in the Father’s promises, will grow stronger within each of us, sent as a leaven in the world, if we permit the Father to reflect His own divine love in the dispositions of our mind and heart, our intellect and will, thus expressing that love in the thoughts, words and actions of each day.Come, Holy Spirit!
(For further reading on today's Gospel see also these paragraphs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: 434, 459, 609, 1823, 1824, 1972, 2745.)
Looking forward to meeting you here again next week, as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Father Cusick
(Meeting Christ in the Liturgy. Publish with permission.)
Art: Fra Angelico: Pentecost. Italy, 1450.