Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday word, 27 May 2012

Recreated To Transform our World
Pentecost (27 May 2012)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
One may briefly—and faithfully—say scripture  recounts in various ways God’s relationship with humans. God began the relationship; humans rebuffed God over and over; yet God never ceased to welcome humans into relationship with God, God’s reason for creating us.
St. Ignatius of Loyola noted our creation was both the divine purpose and goodwill toward us:
Human beings are created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by means of doing this save their souls.
The other things on the face of the earth are created for the human beings, to help them in the pursuit of the [goal] for which they are created.1

Those of us who grew up long after St. Ignatius but before the Second Vatican Council recognize the saint’s expression in the response we learned to the question, “Why did God make me?”
God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.2
All created things are gifts of God to help us better to know, love and serve God now and enjoy divine life for ever. Creation is a constellation of created gifts to help us live godly lives, our most important reason to care for it.
Above all created gifts is one gift without par, divine life. We celebrate God’s rich, powerful, vital life as a Person of the Trinity. Pentecost celebrates Holy Spirit as the gift of gifts, the Consoler,3 the Lord, the giver of Life, as we profess in the Nicene Creed.
Like ordinary gifts the divine gift of Holy Spirit is unearned. The graciousness of God is something we humans from our beginnings have been slow to appreciate. Early in scripture’s account of human development the Tower of Babel vividly described human striving and our stubborn wills to achieve soaring heights and so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.4 We recall their striving made names for them quite different from what they desired: scattered and confused. Scattered and confused are not the Trinity’s desire for us.
Pentecost reminds us that God in Jesus by their Spirit ends confusion and unites peoples by the bond of Holy Spirit, more powerful and vital than blood-ties. The condition and attitude of disciples were drastically different from ambitious striving. Jesus had told them to go Jerusalem and stay in the city until they were clothed with power from on high.5 We easily overlook the disciples’ attitude of attentive waiting because waiting is not comfortable and society shapes us to gratify ourselves at once. Instead, we are prone to marvel at the driving wind and the tongues as of fire.

The disciples’ posture of waiting dramatically reminds us we cannot coerce the Uncreated Gift, who is freely given to us for the sake of the world. As God breathed life into the first humans at the dawn of creation, Jesus continues breathing new life into all his disciples, commissioning us to proclaim his peace with our lives.

Pentecost completes Easter’s season by rehearsing the awe, the doubt, the presence—mysterious and concrete—of the numerous exchanges risen Jesus had with his disciples.  Pentecost celebrates what God began with us, of what Jesus accomplished for us, of what their Holy Spirit continues in us and, miraculously, through us. The Trinity lavishes us with their recreating love, though we are not always aware or even welcoming of our triune God’s living activity within us.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Allow yourself to feel and savor the light and loving warmth of the Trinity, creating you each moment.
  • Ask the disciples and Mary to present you to Jesus.
  • Praise him for rising from the dead for you, and ask him for a share in his joy.
  • Consider with Jesus how you have experienced his Spirit in the last 24 hours; then resolve to be more attentive and more open to the ways Holy Spirit prompts you to live as Jesus’ friend and coworker.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Saying it teaches us how to wait for the Lord to give; to live as people, who count on Jesus’ graciousness, and who are recreated each moment by his forgiving, empowering Spirit.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise
  1. Spiritual Exercises, 22.
  2. Baltimore Catechism4, Part 1, Q&A 6.
  3. Or Advocate: John 14.16, 26; 15.26; 16.7. The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers this succinct insight: “When he proclaims and promises the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus calls him the ‘Paraclete,’ literally, ‘he who is called to one’s side,’ advocatus. ‘Paraclete’ is commonly translated by ‘consoler,’ and Jesus is the first consoler. (#692).
  4. Genesis 11.4-9.
  5. Luke 24.49.
Wiki-image by Sailko of shield of the Holy See used by CC BY-SA 3.0. Wiki-image of Risen Jesus appearing to his disciples at a meal is in the public domain.

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