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Reflection for Pentecost Sunday


My dear Friends:

Happy Pentecost! The readings of Pentecost are indeed inspiring. Do you remember those Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge Piety and Awe (referred to as ‘fear’ of the Lord)? The scriptural scenes in today’s readings are filled with images of vibrant spiritual change, growth and transformation.

An anxious group of Jesus’ disciples are huddled together in fear and confusion. Their spiritual, social and political worlds have been imploded by the death of Jesus, their Leader, Guide and Inspiration. Their doors are barred. Their windows are locked. Panic and Confusion reign! Then, into this scene of leaderless, fraught confusion…

….And suddenly there came from the sky

a noise like a strong driving wind,

and it filled the entire house in which they were.

Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,

which parted and came to rest on each one of them.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit

and began to speak in different tongues,

as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim….

….Jesus came and stood in their midst

and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.

The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.

As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,

“Receive the Holy Spirit.

The disciples then fling open the doors and windows to embrace the world with God’s transforming and healing love. They realised that love means letting go of fear. It also means, loving people into change, growth and transformation, because the Holy Spirit works in and through each and every one of us.

Sometimes, however, we can become imprisoned in private fears, confusion and gnawing, self doubt. Perhaps, these seeds of self-doubt were sown by embarrassing, childhood experiences; possibly, cynical, belittling, comments made by insecure and ambitious ‘colleagues’… or ego inflated ‘friends’ wanting to be the centre of attention at any cost.

But remember, each one of us is God’s Glory, God’s unique Creation! Remember the words of St. Irenaeus: The Glory of God is the person who is fully alive! We can experience that same healing growth, and transformation as the disciples did, by allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, and work through us. It is then, we too, become the midwives and artisans of each other’s souls, lives, gifts, talents and potential! It is then, we, too, become sacred channel of God’s love and Spirit into

the lives of those around us. It is then, in the often-repeated words of Rumi, that, the beauty of what we love becomes what we do!

Our Self-Worth, Self-Value and Self-Esteem are all-too-often impacted by our own limiting thoughts, and the words and actions of those around us. Our challenges today are (i) saying a ‘yes’ to the Healing, Transforming, Loving action of the Holy Spirit within our hearts and lives; (ii) in our own words and actions are we going to help those we meet to realise they are God’s Glory and unique Creations?; (iii) are we going to heal and build the other’s Self-Worth, Self-Value and Self-Esteem by affirming their God-given gifts, talents and potential?

The word humility is often misunderstood! It does not mean to deny the gifts and talents with which God has blessed us. Like Mary’s example in the Magnificat, it means to acknowledge those God given gifts and use them for the Greater Glory of God. Pentecost is the realisation of the glorifying presence of God’s divine potential within us and within others.

Remember me as loving you,

Fr. Antony

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