Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday word, 27 May 2007

Pentecost (27 May 2007) Ac 2. 1-11; Ps 104; Rm 8. 8-17; Jn 14. 15-16, 23b-26
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Intimate, Transcendent & Transforming: Our Daily Pentecost

Let me begin by taking a show-of-hands poll to determine what meaning of a familiar word people recognize first. The word is intimate, and it has three connotations. Please raise your hand if intimate suggests first to you what is “marked by a warm friendship developing through long association.” You who raised you hands now may not do so again during our poll.

Please raise you hand if intimate first suggests to you “marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity.”

Finally, please raise your hand if intimate first suggests to you “belonging to or characterizing one’s deepest nature.”

While we use all three, the connotation of intimate, which first floods my mind, [some / many] of you share: “marked by a warm friendship developing through long association.” However, the first connotation Webster lists is the last one in our poll: “belonging to or characterizing one’s deepest nature.” Our word intimate is from a Latin word meaning innermost. That connotation can help us appreciate Holy Spirit today and everyday.

Holy Spirit is personal, intimate. Jesus and St. Paul could not have been clearer or more direct: the Spirit of God dwells in you. Each of us experiences a person dear to us dwelling within us. Someone who is deceased may indwell by memory. Someone living distant from us may dwell in our hearts. We don’t mean that literally, yet we know that sort of indwelling is very, very real.

Not everything that is real can be measured, or weighed the way we measure our floors or weigh our produce. Some real things we can touch, hold, see with our eyes. They have physical dimensions. Other things exist without physical dimensions and are even more real. Respect, reputation, intuition or gut-feeling, love are more real, more substantial. How often we distinguish human value, saying we can replace things, but people are irreplaceable! Although we may not be aware of it--sort of like breathing--we know well that certain things are more valuable, that is, more real than others.

Often what is more real surpasses our senses, or the limits of our understanding, the way love and forgiveness do. What surpasses our ordinary limits and experience transcends us. Our intimate God, as revealed by Jesus and dwelling in us by their Spirit, is transcendent. Transcendent surpasses comprehension.

Our personal, intimate, transcendent God not only created us. God’s power, Holy Spirit, raised Jesus from death, as St. Paul reminded us. St. Paul literally said the spirit is life, which is more than saying that the spirit is alive, as bible translations often have it. After all, we are alive. Holy Spirit is the very source of life, as well as shaping our deepest nature.

To receive the Spirit transforms us. The Spirit empowers us to choose to act in ways consistent with Jesus and his Spirit. Jesus’ personal, intimate, transcendent Holy Spirit transforms us by keeping us focused on Jesus, remind[ing us], as Jesus said, of all that I told you. Jesus’ Spirit reminds us beyond data. Jesus’ Spirit reminds us to be Jesus’ hands, feet, eyes and heart in our world. The way Jesus and his Spirit routinely do that is through other people.

So Tim & Tanya; Dave & Leeza; Derrick & Kathleen, parents of Keera, Charles and Carolyn, you are their “first and best teachers in the ways of faith.”/1/ Holy Spirit works through you to remind, encourage and model Jesus to your children.

By baptizing them you remind us to receive Holy Spirit more and more throughout our lives, so that we can be more and more like Jesus our Messiah. We are grateful!

In your 15 minutes with Jesus this week, let yourself fall into the love the Trinity has for you. Ask Mary and the disciples to help you receive Jesus’ Spirit more freely. Speak in your own words to Jesus, or even to his Spirit if you are moved. Praise Jesus and his Spirit for claiming you as their own. Resolve how you can better respond to the personally intimate presence of Jesus and his Spirit; to their transcendent presence; or to their transforming presence in your life. After enjoying several minutes of pondering your response, close by slowly saying the Lord’s Prayer, for it reminds us how Jesus lived, prayed and served in his personally intimate and transforming way, always aware of his Father and ours. Enjoy being in touch with your true self, and the Trinity who creates you in each and every moment. Being more open to receiving Holy Spirit is our part in our own creation.
/1/ Rite of Baptism of Children, 70; also see, 5.
Wiki-image of the Goslar Holy Spirit is used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. Wiki-image of Giotto's Pentecost is in the public domain.

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