Homilies,  Year C

Pentecost – 5 June 2022

As most weeks draw to their end, we can often feel somewhat fragmented.  It’s been a difficult week at work; we haven’t achieved all that we would like to, there have been issues at home, at school.  The world is full of dismay!  In our own way each of us asks, “Where is the Spirit of God in all of this?”  Where is the Spirit which Jesus has promised us?  Where is the Gift of God’s life that we celebrate in this great festival of Pentecost?  How is the Spirit of God given to us in the daily struggle of our lives, and in our effort to make sense of all that threatens to fragment our life?”

If only the Spirit came as a powerful wind which stirred our faith in the way that those first disciples experienced; if only the Spirit came as fire to enflame our cold hearts and enabled us with courage and confidence in life!

But we must remember that the Spirit of God comes to us in other ways, too.  In the Gospel we hear that the Spirit comes to us in the form of the breath of Jesus.  Jesus breathes on his friends and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  The Spirit is given not only as a powerful wind but also in the gentleness of a breath.  This is a wonderful paradox:  The Spirit is both a mighty wind and a gentle breath!  The Spirit – as both this strong courage and, at the same time, this quiet reassurance which is peace.

It is the gift of peace that is most associated with the coming of the Holy Spirit into our lives.  The peace that Jesus gives us however is not a simple consolation that renders us immune or cocooned from life’s unpredictability and uncertainty. The Spirit comes to us rather when we are feeling fragile through those moments of deep quiet when though we do not have the answer, we know everything will be alright; The Spirit is given us when we experience a sense of trust when all the circumstances would normally be making us anxious.  The Spirit is given us at those moments when we have a quiet solid sense of purpose even though everything around us seems to be crumbling.  The Spirit is given us in the gentle smile of a friend, in the recognition of the beauty of our children even when they are the cause of a great deal of trouble, when a little ordinary scene outside the kitchen window captures our attention for its simplicity and wonder.

Whenever confusion moves to peace, whenever fear moves to courage, whenever doubt moves to faith, the Spirit of God is given to us.  In all of these situations, the Spirit is the one who, “wake[s] us up out of the petrifications and numbness of our feelings.  We burst apart the amour of the apathy that holds us in an iron grasp. . .  We wake up to the world as it is spread out before God in all its heights and depths.”[1]  

The peace that the Spirit gives us is the peace that makes us more sensitive to life and its pain, not less.  The peace that the Spirit gives is the peace that makes us more attentive to the depth and meaning of what we experience, to the invitations that lie at the heart of what we are experiencing.  The peace that the Spirit gives is the peace that makes us more expectant in life, with life, for life. 

EnSpirited, then, let us live our lives with renewed purpose and passion.


[1] Jürgen Moltmann, In the End – The Beginning:  The life of hope, translated by Margaret Kohl, (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 2004), 83.

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