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  • Bill Miller

Scripture Reflection, May 19, 2024, Pentecost Sunday

Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 John 15:26-27; 16:12-15

There are numerous options for readings that can can be used for Pentecost - depending on which Mass you attend and which message the priest/homilist wants to emphasize. But the fact remains, today is one of the greatest feasts of the Church - and it is a day to celebrate the Holy Spirit, especially the role of the Spirit in helping to form and to guide the Church then (at Pentecost) and continuously throughout the ages.

Not long ago, I was conversing with a friend (approximately my own age) about our attitudes toward the Holy Spirit. He noted that he didn’t really think much about the Holy Spirit when he was young. I agreed, telling him that I didn’t even like thinking much about the Spirit, which was then called the Holy Ghost - a less than appealing name for God, in my humble opinion.

My friend went on to say: “I think about the Holy Spirit more often these days - and even pray to the Spirit sometimes.” For my part, I remarked that some things had happened at the Second Vatican Council that contributed to our heightened awareness of the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church. The council documents frequently mention the Spirit and encourage all Christians to pay attention to and pray to the Holy Spirit.

Moreover, as a Church, we have become more aware of the significant references to the Holy Spirit in sacred scripture. To get a sense for this, I invite you to once again place yourself into the gospel, (John 15:26-27; 16:12-15) as one of the disciples. This entire passage is a directive from Jesus to his disciples - including us! If you have easy access to the reading, read it all, aloud, now. However, even if you can’t read the entire passage, listen to this segment:

Jesus said….”I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.” That sentence reminds me of an important principle of faith: “Timing is everything.” When I was young I had a very limited understanding of the Holy Spirit. But I am older now, and have learned to appreciate the important role the Spirit of God plays in the world.

In today’s passage, Jesus insists that we pay attention to the Holy Spirit. For some of us, this may involve an attitude adjustment - realizing that the third person of the Trinity is every bit as important as the Father and the Son.

While I will never, in this lifetime, fully understand the mysteries of God, I have learned that the Holy Spirit is the very essence of God alive in the world, alive in the Church, and alive in my heart - and yours. Now that IS something to celebrate! It’s Pentecost!! Let’s Party!!!

by: Bill Miller

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