Bottom line: The Holy Spirit creates, heals and sustains. If only we would open our hearts to the fire of his love:
Many of you know this prayer: "Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love..." What is this fire?
Let's start at the beginning. Fire creates. We know this even from modern physics. They talk about a moment when the universe was tiny, smaller than an apple. According to this theory what the cosmos lacked in size it made up for in temperature: trillions and trillions of degrees. The numbers are beyond imagining - higher even than our national debt! Anyway from this primal fire comes the matter to make up the galaxies, stars and planets, including our own.
So fire creates. The Holy Spirit prayer says, "Kindle in us the fire of your love," and adds, "send forth your Spirit and they shall be created..." The fire of the Holy Spirit creates us.
Besides creating, fire purifies. Later this summer we have our parish picnic. The Knights will grill hamburgers. They fire not only gives the burgers a delicious taste but also kills harmful bacteria. Fire likewise purifies gold or silver. Just so the Holy Spirit burns away the greed, lust and bitterness that poison our hearts.
Because fire creates and purifies we pray, "kindle in us the fire of your love". Fire also sustains. We hear today how the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in tongues of fire. Before receiving the Holy Spirit, they were uncertain and fearful. The Holy Spirit gave them courage and directed them.
We need the Holy Spirit to keep going. I don't know about you, but I sometimes feel dry and discouraged - even paralyzed or frozen. Sometimes anger or guilt will well up and I feel impotent. Like Shakespeare I say, "In sooth, I know not why I am so sad." But you know at precisely that moment something amazing happens, a strange consolation. Like that old spiritual, "Sometimes I feel discouraged and feel my work's in vain but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again."
It can be something simple like the Holy Spirit reminding me what I have to be grateful for. Or maybe he focuses my attention on the other person and his need. It can be something more complex like when I worry I have hurt someone by what I said or did. I can't do anything immediate so I pray the Spirit will touch that person's memory. I've been amazed at how the Holy Spirit heals memories.
We need the Holy Spirit. We need him so much that Jesus says it is good that he go away so he can send the Advocate. We live now in the age of the Holy Spirit.
When we began the Easter Season we heard Jesus say, "Peace be with you...Receive the Holy Spirit." The Spirit enables a person to believe, that is to trust Jesus. Then take the decisive step of touching his Body. The Holy Spirit is behind what we do. For example, when I extend my hands over the bread and wine, it's by the Holy Spirit they become the Body and Blood of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is the life of the Church. In baptism we see water; the reality is the Holy Spirit. So it is in all sacraments. So it is when we pray - the Spirit prays in us. The Holy Spirit creates, heals and sustains. If only we would open our hearts to the fire of his love: "Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth.
Audio Homilies for Pentecost Sunday:
Pentecost & First Communion (2018)
How to Take Advantage of Untapped Power (2017)
Led by Spirit - Example of Joey Ox from Church of Spies (2016)
Testimony of Carlos Orozco (2015)
From the Archives (Pentecost Sunday):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru