Homily – May 20, 2018

Pentecost is a feast of power and energy and activity. The apostles were seized by the living spirit of God and driven from their hiding place out in the city streets to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. We can imagine the Spirit taking the apostles by the cuff of their necks and dragging them out into the streets. All this is imaged by the violent wind.

In the early church and maybe even in today’s church the Spirit worked and works in such forceful but not normal ways. Today can we imagine the Spirit not pushing us but nudging us to act with compassion, patience and understanding of the needs of the people who are in our lives? The actions of the Holy Spirit bears different fruits in us that enrich our lives; fruits such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness and gentleness.

By the Spirit’s gentle nudging we may be moved to be more patient and understanding of an aging parent or spouse who keeps misplacing things or who asks the same question over and over again.

Watching young children at play or a mother pushing a stroller may nudge us to be more grateful for the gift of our own families.

Seeing a man or woman using a walker nudges us to be grateful for the gift of our own mobility. Certainly a visit to a hospital should cause us to be grateful for our own good health.

Celebrating this Mass as a member of our parish family might move us to be grateful for out gift of faith and for our freedom to practice our faith openly.

As we enjoy this spring season and see the beginnings of new life in trees and plants may the Spirit move us to be grateful for the gifts and the wonder of God’s good creation. When we see the liter that lines our streets and highways or the tons of plastic polluting the oceans, destroying its marine life may the spirit move us to be ashamed of the many ways we diminish the beauty and health of God’s good creation.

Hopefully the Spirit may bring us to a sense of shame when we hear of so much food thrown out or wasted and know of the hunger that is the normal part of the lives of countless of our brothers and sisters.

When we see or hear of the ruins of bombed out cities and the lives of innocent men, women and children the innocent victims of civil strife – may the Holy spirit stir us to pray for peace and rid our own lives of racism and prejudice of any kind.

When we see the courageous work of doctors without borders, or of first responders or of United Nations aid workers who put their lives on line for total strangers may the Holy Spirit move us to admiration and gratitude for such brave men and women.

For all the lack of love we see around in acts of bigotry and prejudice, for all the exploitation of helpless men and women, for all the injustices that victimize our brothers and sisters, the Holy Spirit still nudges, inspires and embolden generous and loving men and women to bring the love and mercy and healing power of God to our troubled world.

The Holy Spirit is still gifting us with the Spirit’s transforming power not so much in the heavy winds and tongues of fire of times past but in the nudges and pushes that inspire little people to do brave and generous things in our lives and world today.

As we continue to celebrate this feast of transforming power and love we pray for ourselves and for each other that each of us responds with open hearts to whenever it may be the Holy Spirit nudges or pushes us to say or do that we may, in some small way, bring God’s love, mercy and justice to the world.