Pentecost – tomorrow it will just be a memory, another mass, another homily forgotten. For many of us the event of Easter is already forgotten, and we are moving on to enjoy what is left of spring and are looking forward to summer. In a few weeks, we as church, will no longer sing the Easter Hallelujah for we will move into that period we call “Ordinary Time.” There is nothing ordinary about our relationship with God and the life we can have if only we would open ourselves to receive it.
What God desires for us began at creation when God made us in his image desiring to lavish his love upon us, to constantly be present to us and for us to receive that love by being present to him. Disobedience – sin – cost us that intimate relationship. But God’s plan for us did not change however to restore it we needed to have the barrier of sin between us and him removed. God’s plan to remove that barrier was to have Jesus die to pay the penalty for our sins and to change our hearts through the outpouring of the Spirit upon us.
Here is a simple truth we fail to comprehend; Easter and Pentecost are to be perpetual events we should live and give thanks for daily. They are not one time events we experience and then ignore for the rest of the year. Salvation and Pentecost are the two events that make us acceptable to God.
We want the freedom of salvation given to us by Jesus Christ and yet we fail to act on the truth that salvation comes through Christ and Christ alone. We must realize Easter and Pentecost are the book ends of God’s plan to restore us.
We must allow both events to become a reality for us. We must stand at the foot of the cross like the Centurion and confess Jesus was the Son of God.” Once we do that we must then take the next step and say Jesus died so the penalty of my sin would no longer have to be paid by me and now I can stand before my God and allow myself to be loved and embrace the forgiveness offered me.
The other part of our restoration is the gift of the Holy Spirit to change us as it did the disciples. We cannot be fully who God desires us to be without the Spirit guiding our daily lives. This means we must do as the 120 did in that upper room and pray for the “power from on high to clothe us.”
I am not sure what readings you will hear today but if you went to the Pentecost Vigil Mass hopefully you heard three Old Testament readings. One of the three readings is from the Prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel is brought by God to a place with nothing but dry bones as far as the eye can see. It is an important image God desires for us to not only listen to but to know this is exactly how we are in our Spiritual journey – we are the dry bones.
Dry, without life, without any hope, without any understanding that something better has been planned for us. Can dry bones become alive God asks Ezekiel? We know the answer is they cannot by any effort on their own become anything other than dry bones, They need God to change them, to make them more. God tells Ezekiel he will change those dry bones by sending his Spirit upon them, so they may come to life…and put my Spirit in you so that you may come to life and you may know that I am the Lord.” Go home, take out your bibles and read this promise of God to bring us to life by the action of his Spirit within us. You will find this in Ezekiel chapter 37.
This promise of God to send the Spirit to bring us life is repeated to us through other prophets. Simply put the outpouring of the Spirit was promised to us by God for a very specific reason.
The Spirit is equipping us for holiness and empowering us to do the will of God. It is no wonder we feel so inadequate in our spiritual journey as we struggle to do God’s will by our own understanding of what holiness looks like. God desires our spiritual lives to become empowering, energized, vibrant and impacting others. We are to become exactly like those 120 confused, frightened, lost followers of Jesus in that upper room as they were transformed by the Spirit into witnesses of God’s plan of salvation.
Pentecost is necessary for us to experience if we are ever going to live our lives with that sure and certain knowledge we are loved by God and our sins have been forgiven and forgotten.
That my brothers and sisters is the freedom of Pentecost that is to be lived each day of our lives. Pentecost allows us to be totally free of any concern about if we are good enough to stand in the presence of God. The Spirit “pours the love of God into our hearts” (Rom.5:5).
The Gospel today is a reminder of not only the promise of God, but it is a reminder of our need to response to the promise. We must want what was promised. Jesus was clear when he said, “anyone who thirsts …come and drink without price.” We must say like the woman at the well, “give me this water.” Once we do that we begin an amazing journey of discovery.
Each day we will discover more about forgiveness, more about mercy, more about God’s desire for us and more about how much we can achieve because the power of God is available to us. That power helps us clarify our story of feeling the presence of God. That power helps us to listen to the voice of God speaking to us and the plans he has for our lives. That power is helps us pray with our own inner groaning because we know God desires us to do more than recite prayers – he wants us to acknowledge him as Lord. That Spirit will open the scriptures for us, so we can apply God’s word to our daily life giving us wisdom for salvation and equipping us for every good work.
Our Pentecost is the day we are to come alive and become disciples. It is a day we must experience. It is not just as day for us to sit and listen to it happening in the readings. Pentecost is an interior event to be lived.
It is not a day to look behind at what we missed during our journey so far, but it is a day to look forward to the very presence of God with us daily.
Just consider these words of Jesus, “I have more to tell you, but you can not bear it now but when the Spirit comes he will reveal all truth to you.”
Pentecost is the promise of more, more love of God, more knowing we are destined for glory, more knowing the things of God and more knowing how much we are gifted to bring this wonderful good news to those who doubt, those who deny, those are fearful, and to those who have lost their joy.
Each day simply begin your day with one prayer – Come Holy Spirit Come, enkindle within me the fire of your love and I will become transformed into who God destined me to be.