Catholic in Yanchep

Go out into the deep.

Leave a comment

Pentecost, Year C |What does the Holy Spirit want for us?

Pentecost Jan Joest van Kalkar

Pentecost (Pfingsten), Jan Joest van Kalkar (1505 – 1508), oil on wood, St. Nicolai’s Church, (Katholische Pfarrkirche Sankt Nikolai), Kalkar, Germany

Is your Christianity exciting you?  It should. When we look at today’s Gospel, we see the disciples and Mary gathered together in the upper room (note that it wasn’t a church building, just a room).  They have been praying fervently for nine days since the resurrection.  Suddenly,

they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

The Holy Spirit arrives with great power, and gives them extraordinary gifts.  Not only that, but he gives them the energy to go out and preach the Gospel boldly, so much so that by the end of the day, three thousand people have been baptised and added to those who believe Christ is the Son of God.

I once heard a priest from our pastoral area give a homily about this passage where he completely inverted the real message.  The priest said,

“At first there was noise and confusion (apparently referring to the “powerful wind from heaven”), but then after the Holy Spirit arrived, there was peace and calm.”  

“NO THERE WASN’T! ARE YOU STUPID?” I wanted to jump up and shout, but I didn’t because I was in church, and even thinking this way is uncharitable!   But I wanted to say, “Can’t you see that the Holy Spirit has transformed the apostles and given them the conviction and the power to get out of the upper room and take the Gospel to the streets?”

What does this mean for our church here in the Yanchep to Lancelin Pastoral Area.  At the moment we are carrying out a church census, and the numbers are showing how tragically few of us there are.  I don’t believe we are truly using the gifts that the Holy Spirit makes available to us.  On top of this, many of us are not well enough to be very active in parish life.  And unfortunately many people have been driven away from our church for various reasons.  We should be heartily ashamed and praying urgently for a renewal of the Holy Spirit in the life of the parish.  I have just been watching a video of the Confirmations we had in 2001, and wondering, “Where are all those children now, and why don’t they go to Mass any more?”  (I might share it with you later, so that we can all pray for them.)

And now for the Good News!  We may be too uncomfortable to take the Gospel to the streets, but we can all take the Gospel to our friends and family (many of whom are not attending church).  We absolutely need to if we want these people to be able to reach Heaven.   The trouble is, many of us do not know how to talk about Christ with others.  People get embarrassed when you start talking about religion.  Well, I have good news for you: there is a wonderful program that you can access which will show you how to help others towards faith in practical ways.  The RETURN program is packed with ideas you can use, and I urge you sit down and develop a strategy which is going to bring your loved ones to faith in God.   And please let us do this in a joy-filled way, or we’re giving the wrong message!  Otherwise we have missed the point of being Christian.

If anyone is interested in studying the Return program together, please give me a call on 0400-660-337.

Come Holy Spirit, and kindle in us the fire of your love!

Today’s readings:

Word format: Year C Pentecost Sunday

Pdf format: Year C Pentecost Sunday

Leave a comment

Pentecost Sunday | Come, Holy Spirit, and help us!

Pentecost, El Greco, c. 1600, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, oil on canvas.

Pentecost, El Greco, c. 1600, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, oil on canvas.

If the “fruit of the Spirit” is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5), then today the Holy Spirit has been showing me how poor I am in fruits!  Our washing machine has been playing up the whole week, and finally I decided to get a new one.  (This was after a week when I  had already forked out $600 repairing the damage to our house caused by cockatoos. They had pecked a hole the size of a dinner plate into our western red cedar.)  Anyway, when I went to collect the washing machine today (a two hour drive, as I had to borrow a larger car), I found the invoice I had been given the previous day was for someone else’s goods, which involved a trip to customer service to sort it out.  At this stage I was still patient and forbearing.  Anyway, the correct goods were eventually found and the new machine was brought home, but the brand new hoses wouldn’t attach without leaking!  I tried various manoeuvres with washers, but eventually resigned myself to the fact that our taps were way too corroded and this was making it impossible to get a good seal.  (Handy hint: old taps glued with large amounts of lime-scale prevent leaks!)  So it was another hour’s trip to the hardware store to buy a new tap set.  And, yes! This worked!  The Widow Fleming strikes again!  So I put on a load of washing, got the music ready for church, and made dinner.  I was still congratulating myself on my patience and perseverance at this point, and we set off for the Pentecost Vigil.  But at church, several things happened which annoyed me to bits.  I won’t give the details, as we should be trying to build one another up in the Lord, and stirring up discord within a church community is one of Satan’s wiliest tricks.  Still, I kept smiling.  Back at home, it was finally time to relax and unwind, but not before we had hung out that first load of washing from the new machine.  My son volunteered, but being the multi-tasking character that he is, decided he would save himself two trips and carry both the washing basket and his plate, which was loaded up with roast pork, vegetables and a rather wonderful gravy.  Well, somehow the plate tipped over, spilling the wonderful gravy, peas and greasy pork all over our clean washing.  And it was at this point that I completely lost it and managed both to shout at him and burst into tears at the same time.   So much for patience, self-control, gentleness and the rest.

Holy Spirit, I’m obviously not there yet.  Please take over!  I need more of you!  And while You’re at it, please help our Pastoral Area as well – we need your grace in order to grow.

Of course, all my little difficulties are first world problems, and the best way of coping with them is to laugh at them.  Fr Longenecker has the right idea in his article on Hilarity and Holiness.

Anyway, today’s readings are here (now you know why I’m late posting this):

Word format: Year B Pentecost 2015

Pdf format: Year B Pentecost 2015

John Bergsma does an excellent job on the readings here and here.

And Fr Barron has an interesting take on Pentecost in this homily for today.