Loving One, our Maker, our Friend,
the wonder of your presence is a glory filling heaven and earth and our own gathered hearts.
May our lives reveal that same wondrous presence with everything we think and say and do
as your Holy Spirit transforms us and all things.
Send us together
to share your love in all this hurting world.
– Lee Lovett-Olson
The readings for Pentecost Sunday cycle A can be found here.
The scripture scholar will tell you that John uses the term “disciples” to speak about the entire Johannine community, not just a selected few Apostles. The entire community are to be sent out having received the Holy Spirit. Everybody receiving the Holy Spirit has a mission to forgive sins, and we know from reading John’s Gospel that the only sin mentioned is the lack of faith. The disciples now represent Jesus to the world and, as such, are to help those they meet come to know Jesus.
Meister Eckhart, fourteenth century, says “we must become heaven on earth so that God can find a home here.” We must become heaven on earth, and that means we start creating communities that are authentic so that divinity can find a home here.
– Matthew Fox
To help you understand the Gospel mission I would like to introduce you to Jessica Bird, of Atherton, California. It is reported that on a trip to Costa Rica Jessica met a teen girl who needed help. The Costa Rica teen was working as a prostitute and Jessica decided to help her, and others like her. Monies raised and volunteer efforts built a safe house with a chicken coop and greenhouse for teen prostitutes in Costa Rica. Jessica also worked to teach the young girls how to become financially independent.
Even though Jessica saw a need in Costa Rica she explains that “You don’t have to go far to do this kind of service.” There is healing you can provide in your own communities.
[Holy Spirit is] the most embracing, direct, and unrestricted symbol for the divine life. The Spirit does not disrupt those structural functions [of life], but grounds and heals them. Personal, social, political, and ecclesial structures of human institutions are intrinsic to the experience of the divine Spirit.
– Paul Tillich (The History of Christian Thought)
The disciples were frightened and hidden until the Holy Spirit provided the boldness necessary to get them out into the world, to be Jesus. Barbara Brown Taylor explains that “God wanted to make sure that Jesus’ friends were the inheritors of Jesus’ breath, and [on Pentecost] it worked.”
We meet people every day and our mission is to be Jesus. We have His breath, His Spirit. Whatever profession or institution you associate, the Holy Spirit is with you to guide your path toward healing others. Of course, this is the ideal expectation. We are human and we have our failings. It is my opinion that Richard Rohr describes it best:
There is a part of me that wants to love, heal, and renew and would never want to hurt anybody. It’s just, where does this come from? I know that I didn’t develop it or work for it; it’s my soul. We would say that this is the divine indwelling of the Holy Spirit — this part of me that has always said “yes” to love, God, myself, and others. I don’t know where this radical “yes” comes from.
That’s my divine part that is in communion with everything already. But then what coexists with it is this nasty, petty self that I don’t even want to talk about, or the thoughts I will have of judgment, dismissal, and of irritation. Right after I’ve given a wonderful keynote address on the contemplative mind, I’ll go to the airport again and be irritated with the first five people that I meet. And I say, “God I’m a phony.” And yet, it’s humility and patience with that very humanity.
I don’t hate it anymore as much as I once did, if at all. I can weep over it, and say, “That’s Richard, the one that God loves for some reason.” At my age I think I’ve met both my divinity and my humanity and they do coexist in me.
– Richard Rohr
This Pentecost we are reminded that we are Jesus to the world. If you take one thing away from this homily it should be to be bold when you see a need in those you meet. We are not going to be perfect but the Holy Spirit will give us the strength we need to love, in those times. Don’t be afraid, with the Holy Spirit we can and will do great things.