Acts 2:1-11; Ps 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-11; John 20:19-23; John 14:15-16, 23b-26
Pentecost is the completion of the Easter celebrations. Jesus had finished his work of personally showing us God’s love and dying to take away our sins. Our Father showed us that he accepted the sacrifice of Jesus by raising him from the dead. Jesus appeared 12 times to various followers to prove that he was alive. His work finished, Jesus returned to heaven. Then he and his Father poured into the earliest followers their Spirit of love and power.
I shared with you two weeks ago the major work of the Holy Spirit from St. John’s gospel, chapters 14 to 16. The Holy Spirit’s work is to continue the life-giving love of God in our lives. He has been that director since Pentecost. We need to understand, listen and follow his directions.
The Jewish feast of Pentecost called all devout Jews to Jerusalem to celebrate their birth as God’s chosen people, in the covenant law given to them through Moses at Mt. Sinai. At our Pentecost, and the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Holy Spirit breathes into us more divine power to help bring more people into God’s kingdom.
The creed we pray each Sunday and major feast days speaks of the Holy Spirit in this way: "I believe in the holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets."
The Holy Spirit is our helper and guide to lead us to Jesus and the fullness he has for us. This is not a "new private devotion," and it is not optional. He is in charge of leading us and we need to get to know him better. We need a personal relationship with him.
The Sequence we pray on Pentecost Sunday is the most complete that I have found in describing the work of the Holy Spirit in 10 poetic verses, so easy to memorize. It is short, poetic and very meaningful.
It was written by Stephen Langton some 1,000 years ago. He studied and taught at the Catholic University of Paris. Later he was sent to England as the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Pentecost Sequence
Come, Holy Spirit, come! And from Your clear celestial home, Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor! Come, source of all our store. Come, within our being shine!
You, of comforters the best; You, our soul's most welcome guest; Sweet refreshment here below.
In our labor, rest most sweet; Grateful coolness in the heat; Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light Divine, Shine within these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!
Where You are not, we have naught, Nothing good in deed or thought, Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew; On our dryness pour Your Dew; Wash the stains of guilt away.
Bend the stubborn heart and will; Melt the frozen, warm the chill; Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore, And confess You, evermore, In Your many Gifts descend.
Give us virtue's sure reward; Give us Your Salvation, Lord; Give us joys that never end.
Monday we return to Ordinary Time and pick up where we left off with St. Mark’s gospel before Lent began. Have a beautiful week looking forward to more love and guidance from the Holy Spirit.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2016 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)