Come, Holy Spirit
Creative energy seems low in the area of liturgy these days. Perhaps things have just settled down from a more creative period? But creative energy is volcanic, it simmers, it finds crevices of expression. It feels like this energy is moving to Pentecost. Parishes are developing Pentecost Vigils using the readings in the lectionary. Many parishes are finding that programs to welcome practicing adults who have never celebrated the sacrament of Confirmation are enthusiastically received. Come, Holy Spirit Come, shed a ray of light divine!
The initiation sacraments are the Easter sacraments – Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. They weave us together in celebrating the dying and rising of Our Lord. It was necessary for Jesus to suffer, as Jesus told the disciples on the road to Emmaus. It seems that it is necessary for us to suffer to come to faith in the Risen Lord. John is the first Apostle to believe is the one who stood by the Cross closest to the act of Jesus’ love and suffering. Peter is humbled and crushed. Mary Magdalene tearfully mourns for Jesus. Paintings of Our Lord’s Ascension often show his wounded hands and feet as he ascends into heaven, a final glimpse of something so important. O most blessed Light divine, shine within these hearts of yours, and our inmost being fill!
Disciples are not to look heavenward but to turn their gaze to the Church, to the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is a wounded body, the crucified of today. Peter will be far from Galilee and Jerusalem when he crosses into the new territory of Cornelius and the mystery of God’s grace. Paul hears in his dream, ‘Come help us’, and is sent by the Spirit to a new land, Macedonia. Pope Francis calls us to go the sheep, leave the comfort of the known, cross boundaries to reach those in need. We are called to the margins and to be with the marginal. You, of comforters the best; you, the soul’s most welcome guest; Sweet refreshment here below.
So our celebration of Easter ends on this the 50th day. As Jesus was sent by the Father we are now sent by Jesus, to go to the new territories to which the Holy Spirit will lead us. Our suffering and our wounds help us to believe. We go as witnesses of forgiveness and healing. Heal our wounds, our strength renew; on our dryness pour your dew; wash the stains of guilt away.
Seven young people will be confirmed in my parish today, the youngest an eighth grader the other six in high school. In talking to each of them I fell from the youngest to the oldest God’s grace is very present. Where did these kids come from? They were not friends to start with, each responded to the invitation to be Confirmed. I realize they do not quite fit into my adult world, they experience a world differently than I do. I hear a mature sense of right and wrong, a listening to God in their lives, a care for others, a desire to do good. They are not self absorbed. Each one is unique but shares faith and with faith looks outward. On the faithful, who adore in your sevenfold gift descend. This celebration of Pentecost give us all virtue’s sure reward; give us salvation, Lord; Give us joys that never end. Amen. Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit.
Fr. William Murphy, CP is the pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in Jamaica, New York.