As I Have Loved You Week 5 - Substantial Love

(June 5, 2022)

Bottom line: Today we see Jesus' greatest gift - the Holy Spirit, the substantial love between Father and Son.

Today we celebrate Pentecost - Feast of the Holy Spirit. Before talking about the gift of the Holy Spirit, I'd like to sum up what we've learned so far in our series: As I Have Loved You. "As I have loved you, so also you should love one another."

When we talk of love, we mean more than a feeling or sentiment. On Mother's Day we saw that the task of a shepherd requires constant attention and care. Jesus is both the Lamb sacrificed for us and the shepherd who one day will wipe away every tear. We talked about the tears of moms and dads who have lost a child - through miscarriage, disease, abortion or accident - and how our Knights want to make a Memorial to the Unborn.

The theme of Jesus wiping away every tear took on a personal meaning for me when my brother Greg died on May 10.

Jesus sends the Holy Spirit as the Consoler - also called the Advocate, like a lawyer who defends us against the attacks of Satan. The Bible calls the devil the great accuser. You know what I mean - that hissing voice that keeps repeating, you're worthless, give in and give up. The Holy Spirit is the opposite. Once we tune in, he says: be strong, you are a valuable son, you are a beautiful daughter. God has a perfect plan for you.

Last weekend we saw this care in Jesus who ascended to the right hand of the Father where he has become our great priest. He knows us in all our brokenness. He's no longer bound by time and space, so he has all eternity to actively listen to your prayers and mine. He wants you and I to become active listeners to each other. "As I have loved you, so also you should love one another."

Now in all this something stands out. We aren't talking about any old love. We are not talking about cheap love - loving those who agree with us and make us feel good. We're talking about love as total giving. It's the love of the Father who eternally begets the Son. It's the love of the Son who hears and obeys the Father. Not my will but your will be done. That love has a name. That love in fact is a third separate person - the Holy Spirit.

When we pray, we pray to the Father, through the Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. The unity of the Holy Spirit means the Communion of Saints - a ragtag diverse group - people from every tribe, tongue, race and nation. We have a list of the first ones to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit: "We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs."

You have here people from the great continents of Asia, Africa and Europe. Fr. Josh Johnson observes, "Clearly, St. Luke's racially diverse description of the early Church mirrors St. John's vision of a people from every nation, tribe and tongue in heaven!" Then he adds, "The ethnic diversity of the early Church is also possible for our contemporary American Church." (On Earth as it is in Heaven - Restoring God's Vision of Race and Discipleship). The Holy Spirit brings together people of different cultures, each with unique gifts. But as we shall see next week, we have a common origin and goal.

Today we see Jesus' greatest gift - the Holy Spirit, the substantial love between Father and Son. "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit."

Even though we live in midst troubles and distress, even though we experience anxieties that sometimes seem to crush us and drive us crazy, still we hear Jesus say, "Peace be with you...Receive the Holy Spirit" Amen.

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Spanish Version (Word document)

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)

Spanish Version (Word document)

From the Archives (Pentecost Sunday):

2020: Healing of Memories
2019: Fire of Your Love
2018: Like a Rhizome
2017: Life in Christ Week 8: Source of Power
2016: Led by the Spirit
2015: Disciple Makers Week 8: Holy Spirit Make It Possible
2014: Practical Sign of Hope
2013: Even Greater Things
2012: Our First, Most Cherished Liberty
2011: It Was the Holy Ghost
2010: The Power of the Holy Spirit
2009: The Soul's Most Welcome Guest
2008: Double Gift
2007: With You Always
2006: He Testifies to the Truth
2005: The Greatest Unused Power
2004: A Man Open to the Holy Spirit
2003: To Drink of One Spirit
2002: Healing of Memories
2001: Hateful Comparisons & Precious Gifts
2000: The Spirit & The Flesh
1999: Each in His Native Language
1998: Empty Rites?

Other Homilies

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 Easter Season 2018*

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

(current)

Divine Mercy Novena (print ready in English & Spanish)

MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru

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Last weekend - Pentecost Sunday - we saw Jesus' greatest gift: the Holy Spirit. He is the substantial love between Father and Son. You can understand this love in the teaching about the Trinity.

Trinity comes from the Latin "trinitas" that mean threeness. A triangle has threeness - three sides and three angles. Similarly, we know from the New Testament that God has a threeness: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. But there are not three gods, but only one God. That's why our Profession of Faith begins "I believe in One God". Then it goes on to speak of "the Father almighty" and his Only Begotten Son" Jesus who is "God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God...consubstantial with the Father". 

"Consubstantial" means having the same substance. Ice and steam are distinct but they have the same substance - water. The Father and Son likewise are distinct but have the same substance - deity or divinity. And the Holy Spirit "proceeds from the Father and the Son". Him we likewise worship as God. The Holy Spirit is the substantial love between Father and Son. That's our teaching on the Trinity.

What does this teaching have to do with us? We get a clue in the first reading from Proverbs. It says this about the "wisdom of God": "from of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth". Proverbs continues, "before the mountains were settled into place, before the hills, I was brought forth". "I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while, playing on the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the human race". 

The wisdom of God, the Word of God, is almost like a child at play. A child doesn't have to make a sand castle, but he does. He draws a stick man and shows the man throwing for a dog. God could have used a long process of forming galaxies, then a planet suitable for a creature he would give him special delight. I found delight in the human race.

We are a special delight to God because even though animals have greater agility and strength, only we can receive wisdom. Only we can make choices that reflect God's self-giving love. 

Now, my puppy Rosie has lots of intelligence and love, but I have a stewardship that I cannot expect of her. When she messes up one of the neighbor's yards, they don't blame her. They blame me. And rightly so. We have a responsibility that animals do not have. The wisdom of God delights in us because we reflect the intimate nature of God. We have a capacity for insight: for example our ability to enjoy a joke or get immersed in a good story. We experience our lives as stories. Chesterton said, "I had always felt life first as a story: and if there is a story there is a story-teller."

Through homilies and through our faith formation program, I want to introduce you to the great story teller. He tells that story in the Bible and in the lives of saints. The story is about his Son Jesus - and his total self-giving. We'll see a great example next week as we celebrate Corpus Christi - the Body and Blood of Jesus.

For today, as we celebrate the Holy Trinity,  I invite you to see Jesus as the Wisdom of God, delighting in the human race. Loving us so much that even though we have fouled things up bad, he keeps loving and gives us the greatest gift - the Holy Spirit.