Earlier this week, a 21-year old pawn shop worker from Leesburg, Georgia, was crowned the new American Idol on national television, after the casting of 132 million viewers’ votes! The Associated Press later recounted how young Phillip Phillips "dissolved into tears as he sang the song, ‘Home.’" The AP went on to describe how "Phillips retained his humble, self-effacing demeanor to the end, and beyond."
While music critics struggle to find superlative adjectives to describe the young man’s extraordinary talent with guitar and voice, they are also quick to add that his humility and humanity are just as remarkable and inspiring. What a delight to experience a celebrity today – an entertainer or athlete – who radiates what St. Paul speaks of as the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, humility, kindness, gentleness, self-control.
Today, on this Feast of Pentecost, Jesus tells us what he told his disciples, "I will not leave you orphans." The Holy Spirit, our Advocate, will come to be with us, to guide us to fuller truth and deep-down-goodness. Pentecost invites us to share more deeply in our loving God by becoming aware of that God-Presence all around us. We are not orphans.
Recently I was privileged to spend about three weeks touring our missions in India. What impressed me most was the goodness of our young Passionist men… their willingness to sacrifice, to serve. They are tireless in doing good, they are unwavering in their commitment. The fruits of modesty in times of success and patience in times of trouble mirror this Pentecost Presence. If this feast is the birthday of the Church, what could possibly bring us more hope?
Fr. Jack Conley, C.P. ministers as a preacher of parish missions and retreats. He is a member of the Passionist formation community at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.