Pentecost; tongues of fire; a strong driving wind; frightened men gaining the courage and the power to speak boldly; the people were astounded and amazed! Wow!
Who is this Holy Spirit that filled the apostles with such power on Pentecost? Where do we find the driving wind and the tongues of fire in our world? How can we harness this power to transform our lives and our world as the apostles did after Pentecost?
The Holy Spirit is alive and well in our world and in our parish. On our Christ Renews His Parish or CRHP weekend last month, through the power of the Holy Spirit, several men had life changing experiences.
After the weekend, Jerry, a member of our parish, wrote: “On Saturday night, I was telling Jim about my crazy experiences with religion. How growing up I had been to about every type of Protestant service you can think of – from Anglican to Pentecostal tent revivals. I never knew Catholicism until I got married. Oh, I had studied its history and studied about the Reformation and the spawning of the protestant churches, but I hadn’t experienced it in action. Now, after 31 years of sitting on the sidelines observing, I’ve decided it’s time to get in the game.”
John, who came with his friend Scott all the way from Morristown Tennessee, wrote: “The Lord touched us in a very special way, and thanks to all of you we experienced the power of the Holy Spirit. Through all of you we saw the Lord working. Scott and I would be humbled to be part of the next group of witnesses. While we live in Morristown and it is a long distance, if we have faith and allow the Holy Spirit to do his work, he will help us find a way. With your help and with the Holy Spirit, we hope to bring CRHP to our parish in Morristown.”
How do we experience the Holy Spirit working in our lives? Have we ever witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit like these men did on their CRHP weekend? If you haven’t met the Holy Spirit, you don’t know what you are missing. And if you have experienced this but have lost the fire of your faith, it is time to get it back. All of us have opportunities to experience the power of the Holy Spirit many times in our lives. It may be at an adoration hour, mass, a baptism or a first communion, a death of someone close to us or even listening to a homily. At these times, we can develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, our faith can move from our head to our heart. And then, we won’t just know about Jesus, we will feel him in our heart. And the Holy Spirit is yearning to touch each of us in a special way. He wants to impact our day to day decisions which shape who we are. He wants to guide us and to influence everything about our lives. For, if the Holy Spirit isn’t guiding us, the devil is more than willing to take over.
The Holy Spirit has influenced my life many times. Some of these had a big impact on me and some were very small. I’m sure that there have been many times when he has influenced my life and I didn’t even realize it. Recently, I made plans to vacation in Gatlinburg Tennessee shortly after the CRHP weekend. At the time, I didn’t know that several men who would attend that weekend would come from Morristown Tennessee, about an hour from Gatlinburg. A little over a week ago, I met with John and Scott in Tennessee who are on fire with the Holy Spirit. Now, they are members of our giving team and are making plans to start CHRP at St Patrick’s in Morristown next year. It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit works. Some people call these coincidences but I consider them to be God-incidences; the Holy Spirit working in my life.
So now, I ask all of you to reflect over the next few minutes on the message that you are hearing in your heart. Is the Holy Spirit calling you to pray more often? Is he asking you to evangelize others or maybe just to be a friend by helping others? Is he calling you to the sacrament of reconciliation where you can wipe the slate clean? Is he telling you to have a heart to heart talk with someone you love; your parent, your child, or your spouse. Or is he just asking you to rest in the peace and joy of Christ’s love? Whatever your message is, make sure that it comes from the Holy Spirit and then embrace it. Do not be afraid. Few of us will experience a strong wind or tongues of fire.
Let us pray. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created and You shall renew the face of the earth. Amen.