Pentecost Sunday – Fr. Rick’s Homily (Short Version)
May 31, 2020
This Sunday we are celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit to the apostles 50 days after Easter. The Spirit at this time sealed them with gifts of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. We also had these gifts sealed in our souls when we received Confirmation.
Perhaps we didn’t feel noticeably wiser or more knowledgeable after our Confirmation? As we know the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are not magic beans like in Jack in the Beanstalk. We could think of the Gifts like seeds which have to be planted and cared for. First we must determine what kind of plant we want to grow. Obviously, if we want apples we would find apple seeds. We need to plow or prepare the ground before we plant. We would need to know how much sun and water the apple seed likes. We need to know if they like to be close to other apple trees, if they like to be planted 6 inches deep or 12 inches deep. Then when the apple trees start to grow we need to know how to prune them and how long it takes to actually produce apples. If they don’t produce right away, we don’t chop them down. It’s also helpful to know that in some years apple trees yield many apples and other years almost none. It’s a constant learning process.
The apple seed already knows what to do. We have to learn about the seed and participate with what the seed is already ‘coded’ to do…become an apple tree.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are like this. If we want Wisdom, we need to start with the Word of God, listen to our intuition or interior voice; give ourselves the type of time and space necessary to really listen…deliberately.. We need to read the writings of saints and other spiritual teachers. We do well to find wise people who know how to listen to God and how to listen to other people. We should consider what they have to say to us.
Over the years we learn to be attentive to all these Gifts of the Holy Spirit and learn how to actively participate with God in helping us to mature. During this season of Pentecost we should pray for others who are actively learning and teaching in aspects of our religion that the world desperately needs: Scripture studies, marriage preparation, care of the environment, social justice issues, sacramental theology, etc., etc. We could collaborate with others who are already serving and using their Gifts. The Holy Spirit is very much ALIVE AND WELL in our times and working through people who are open and ready.
We are all called to participate.