Saturday, May 30, 2020

HOMILY – Pentecost 2020 – Spirit Moves In Mysterious Ways

It's intriguing to see how the Holy Spirit is at work in the world today.
Usually in moments of pain and despair, our Creator is revealed through the Holy Spirit and provides a beautiful revelation. 
Christ comes in amazing gift form to heal us from our broken human condition. And it all happens through the power of the Holy Spirit that is breathed on us all at Baptism and again at Pentecost.
If we listen closely, the events of the past week for black America have the Holy Spirit written all over them. It's time for new life born of the spirit.
If we listen closely, the events of the past few months for all of us touched by the COVID-19 pandemic have the Holy Spirit written all over them. It's time for new life born of the spirit. More on that in a moment.
As my favorite rock band U2 writes, “The Spirit… She moves in mysterious ways.”
Why “She?” From the Old Testament, Wisdom is known as Sophia (Proverbs 8). We refer to Wisdom now as the Holy Spirit.  And the Holy Spirit has guided the Mother Church throughout the centuries.
During our formation, the Archdiocese’s lead theologian and Seattle University professor Fr. Mike Raschko said the following to the deacon candidates: “The Holy Spirit is a difficult topic to discuss because 'she' is very elusive. The Spirit is the one person of the Trinity that doesn't have 'form' around her.  When we think about the Father, we primarily think about the creator. We can relate to the Father as the
maker of the universe. When we think about the Son, we think about the person of the Trinity that entered history to redeem us (Jesus). There is a human being with a human story to look at. When we think about the Holy Spirit, there is nothing to quickly grab onto.”
The Spirit is elusive and usually only revealed through signs of the times. What are the signs of our times?
The Apostles are experiencing their first Holy Spirit moment in today’s Gospel and it transforms their lives forever. 
They’re angry, worrying, hiding, freaked out. Then Jesus walks through locked doors and says, “Peace be with you,” breaths the Holy Spirit upon them, and everything changes. 
          Fear and darkness are banished. Courage and enthusiasm for the Gospel take their place. In that moment, Christ’s Church is born.
“The Spirit moves in mysterious ways.”
Pope Francis shared his thoughts about the Holy Spirit at work in the events of the past few months of the Coronavirus pandemic. The message was directed to the priests of the Diocese of Rome, but I believe there’s wisdom here for us all.
“In his letter, Pope Francis looks to this first apostolic community, gathered in the Upper Room after the first Easter. Although the doors were locked because the Apostles were afraid for their own lives, the Risen Christ appeared to them, offering them peace, new life and sent them forth with the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Vatican news site wrote this about the letter:
’Jesus ‘did not choose or seek an ideal situation to break into the lives of His disciples’, the Pope writes. But when He appeared to the disciples in the locked room, Jesus ‘was able to transform all logic and give new meaning to history and events’.
Pope Francis writes that Jesus’ presence announces ‘a new day’.
The Pope encourages… (us) to not be afraid of the complex scenarios that will come about as we move beyond the first stage of the pandemic response, reminding them that ‘Christian joy comes from the certainty that Jesus is in our midst’. Those who, like Jesus, can welcome and embrace life as it really is, who allow themselves to ‘weep with those who are weeping’ are capable ‘of reaching the depths of life and being truly happy’.
It is the duty of... (us all) ‘to announce and prophesy the future’, writes Pope Francis. The Resurrection ‘is not only an historical event of the past’, but rather, ‘the announcement of the salvation of a new time that resounds and is ready to break out today’.
It is faith that allows us to establish ‘a new time’ with evangelical creativity.”
How can we turn the events of the past week and past few months into a moment of evangelical creativity?
The Pope goes on to say, “If an intangible presence has been able to disrupt and overturn the priorities and seemingly unbreakable global agendas, let us not fear that it is the presence of the Risen One that traces our path, opens horizons and gives us the courage to live this historic and singular moment.
He calls on… (us all) to ‘once again be surprised by the Risen One’. The Resurrection of Jesus, the Pope says, ‘is the proclamation that things can change’.”
What changes do we need to make as a society to bring about peace and justice for our African American sisters and brothers? 
The bishops asked U.S. Catholics “to pray to the Holy Spirit for the Spirit of Truth to touch the hearts of all in the United States and to come down upon our criminal justice and law enforcement systems.” They urged “each and every Catholic, regardless of their ethnicity, beg God to heal our deeply broken view of each other, as well as our deeply broken society.”
What changes will we be asked to make as we come back to public Masses in the coming weeks? The list covers 18-pages! (Click here to see the guidelines) 
Many changes we will agree with. Some we won’t. Let's allow the Holy Spirit to help us all find peace in this new moment, in this temporary new way of doing Church. 
          Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to guide us as we heal the racial divides in our nation.
Jesus reminds his disciples this weekend his peace is with them always.  Let us trust in Christ’s peace in our lives now as we wrestle with these important questions.
As we experience Pentecost, I encourage us to let the Holy Spirit soak us with Christ’s goodness.  Let it permeate our very being.  Let it transform us in NEW ways that will heal our souls. 
Allow the Spirit to move in mysterious ways in our lives. 
May the peace of Pentecost be with you always.

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