Thursday, May 20, 2010

Come Holy Spirit Come!

Pentecost Sunday – Year C

Today, as we look around this congregation, we can imagine seeing the tongues of fire coming down on the heads of everyone here. After a period of waiting – 50 days of waiting – Jesus finally sends us the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, the one who will teach us everything and remind us of all that Jesus has said.

What is the significance of the coming of the Spirit?

First, the Spirit allows us to overcome our fears. Does this mean that we would no longer have any fears? No. We will always have fears. The opposite of fear is not courage but love – in fact, it is God’s love that overcomes our fears. It is love that help us to do things even when we are fearful of the consequences. Fear does not disappear, but it can no longer control us. In love, we allow the Spirit to take control of us. This was the experience of the apostles. Fearful, they hid behind closed doors. But when they were filled by the Spirit, they felt compel to go out from that room to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

Secondly, the coming of the Spirit breaks down barriers between us and creates unity among people from diverse backgrounds. Today, the Church is not a Chinese Church, it is not an Indian Church, it is not a Malaysian Church. The Church does not belong to any particular group. The Church is the Church of Christ and all people, regardless of race, color or language are part of it. In the words St. Paul in the second reading, we are “children of God”, “heirs of God and coheirs with Christ.” If we were to live according to the Spirit, then we must not allow prejudice to affect the way we live our Christian lives. If language had been a barrier to the early Christians, as in the case of the first reading, the Holy Spirit breaks down even that barrier. Different peoples can still be united in Spirit even if they do not share a common language. What does this tell us about our own parish situation? Each of us must seriously reflect over this.

This is the reason why the Church is different from every other social group. Social groups consists of members who share a common interest, or a common language or a common project. This can never be the case for the Church. The Church is made up of peoples from diverse backgrounds. We must be able to look after the interest of everyone and not only look towards our own interest. The Church is not Barisan Nasional, made up of different racial parties – UMNO, MCA or MIC.

Thirdly, the Spirit comes to “teach you everything and remind you of all (Jesus) has said to you.” We need to be reminded because we forget so easily especially when we encounter problems. We need to be reminded constantly of our identity as children of God. We need to be reminded constantly that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to be reminded that our new life in the Spirit is a life that must be founded on love. Life in the Spirit means that there is no room for hatred, prejudice, unforgiveness, or selfishness.

We give thanks to God for the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is truly our Advocate, our helper. Let us make room for him in our hearts that we will always be ready to listen to his prompting.

Come, Holy Spirit, come!

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