Under the care of the Discalced Carmelite Friars
Pentecost Sunday Year A
In John`s gospel Jesus referred to the Spirit as a fountain of living water welling up to eternal life. The hymns of the Holy Spirit for Pentecost also evoke the image of water , praying: `On our dryness pour thy dew, wash the stains of guilt away.`
The fruit and vegetables which we enjoy on our dinner table would have remained just wild plants with very little if any nutritive properties or savoury taste, had they not been carefully cultivated since prehistoric times . A wild pear tree is a rough, hard, thorny bush which bears bitter fruit. There must be a moral here when we think of how we are meant to grow as Christians, develop our gifts and bear plentiful fruit. God has given us his gifts in abundance – gifts of love, wisdom, reverence, care for one another..but unless we ourselves cultivate these gifts and put them into practice, then they could easily remain barren and bitter with no noticeable good effects for ourselves or on the community as a whole.
At this time we are beginning to prepare our young people in the parish to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. It is an important growth point in their lives
The gifts of the Spirit enable us to come forward and worship and reverence God our Father and offer him thanks and praise through his son for all he has done for us. One writer has pointed out that the word to worship,’ Proskuneo’ in Greek, occurs 66 times in the New Testament. It literally means ‘to come forward to kiss’..That is indeed a lovely thought.It reminds us that God wants to invite us into a loving relationship with himself, and not a relationship of fear.People today need to realise something of God’s individual, immediate love for them just as they are, with their past histories or simply their past.
There is this temptation for people to think that God, if God exists at all, is a million miles removed from them and their concerns. Even some committed Christians still live in fear . Only a minority are convinced of the Lord’s personal, intimate love for them, a love beyond all imagining..But if we but come forward to kiss which means, as I say, to worship God , then we receive the love of God poured into our hearts through his Holy Spirit.Christian mystics down the ages have thought of God’s Spirit as his kiss. Our Carmelite Doctor of the Church, St.Teresa of Avila rejoiced in the greatness of God’s love for us which He has made known in the Scriptures. And she was thinking especially of the kiss of God.
Is it any wonder that the Pentecost hymns of the Church turn to God today in the beautiful language of the traditional Veni Sancte Spiritus:
`Come O creator Spirit blest
and in our souls take up thy rest,
come with thy grace and heavenly aid,
to fill the hearts which thou has made.
Great Paraclete to thee we cry,
O highest gift of God most high,
O fount of life O fire of love,
And sweet anointing from above.
The Holy Spirit puts the finishing touches to the work of grace begun in us by baptism.It is said that when the great artist Rubens gave lessons to a group of students , he would watch their earnest efforts to imitate the master. Then when they were nearly finished he would take the brush from their hands and put the finishing touches to the painting. It was that which made all the difference and brought the painting to life. If we allow him the Holy Spirit will round off our feeble efforts to live a Christlike life, making us fully alive in the way we are m