Pentecost Sunday - Homily 5


Homily 5 - 2020

It’s hard talking about the Holy Spirit because we have no images to help us — except the Dove at Jesus’ Baptism and the Tongues of Fire at Pentecost. Yet, there is room still to think.

Today’s Second Reading from St Paul stated cryptically, “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless under the influence of the Holy Spirit.” Paul was not referring simply to the words [anyone can say them]. To claim Jesus really as our “Lord”, means that Jesus has become the focus of our admiration, our source of motivation, our guide for how to live and act.

This Jesus [our guide for living] said of himself, “I came not to be served but to serve, and to give my life for the redemption of all”. His life was one of total service, of total and unconditional love.

As Paul said, to meaningfully claim “Jesus is Lord”, we need the Spirit. So who is the Spirit? In the Trinity, according to the Nicene Creed, the Spirit results from the infinite love for each other that flows between Father and Son — and personalises the creative, joyful energy of that love. The Spirit is precisely the joy-filled, creative energy of our loving God, at work now in our world.

In an earlier letter, St Paul listed, probably off the top of his head, what he called some “fruits” of the Spirit’s presence in believers’ lives. He mentioned: love, joy, peace, patience, graciousness [or kindness], goodness, faithfulness [or trust], gentleness [or non-violence] and self-control. Those attitudes [or virtues] sum up my sense of the mature Jesus.They describe very well the kind of person I wish I had become.

The “fruits” of the Spirit are more than pure “gifts”. Along with the Spirit’s loving, creative energy, they also require our free, personal choice and practical cooperation.

Come, Holy Spirit!