Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday word, 25 May 14

Quietly and Clearly
Easter Sunday6 A (25 May 2014)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Easter’s Fifty Days unfold to remind us the daily ministry of the apostles announced risen Jesus to others. They called it the ministry of the word.1 By it they freely announced how they experienced him after his resurrection. They spoke their word to unbelievers where they found them; they nurtured the word among believers at table.

Our reaction may well be that none of us could be like them—in our experience of risen Jesus or their freedom. That reaction may be a temptation; if not, the reaction is unfounded. Why? Baptism has given us a share in Jesus’ Spirit. We receive Holy Spirit differently than the apostles: risen Jesus visited them the first Easter and breathed on them, and said, Receive the Holy Spirit.2 We received the Holy Spirit in sacramental ways. Sacraments breathe forth the powers of risen Jesus. “Sacraments are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in [and for] his Body, the Church.”3 Holy Spirit unites us with risen Jesus. Holy Spirit graces us with freedom to make known Jesus as we come to know him. Jesus’ Spirit make us like the apostles in our time and place.

Holy Spirit is Jesus’ promised gift to his friends. His Spirit unites us with Jesus and makes us his witnesses, as he had told the apostles: “wait for the promise of the Father about which you have heard me will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”4

We recall they did not wait idly; they shaped their waiting by prayer with Mary and others.5 When we allow prayer to shape our days, we grow more sensitive and alert to Jesus’ Spirit “at work in and for us and his Body, the Church.” Praying allows us to expect Jesus to meet us and by his Spirit offer us what we need. Expecting waits actively. It involves accepting and seeking: accepting Jesus’ promise and seeking how his promise breathes in each of us. As each of us enjoys greater clarity about Jesus’ Spirit enlivening us, we grow freer to announce his life to others.

Risen Jesus enlivens all who come to him. We have come to Jesus. Risen Jesus enlivens us by his Spirit given us in a variety of ways. We receive and grow in Jesus’ Spirit by choosing the ways: personal prayer and public worship; hearing and reading Scripture; celebrating sacraments which breathe forth Jesus’ Spirit; and extending Christian charity, itself a Spirit-power.

Exercising our Catholic lives helps us live in the realm of risen Jesus’ Spirit. That’s important to remember. It is easy to think the realm of the Spirit consists only in outlandish and stunning activities. Scripture recalls the first actions of the Spirit were stunning. The phrase we heard, Holy Spirit…had not yet fallen upon any of them, leads in the stunning direction. The word translated fallen can mean embracing. That image suggests Jesus’ promised Spirit works quietly, too.

At the Last Supper Jesus told his disciples he would send them another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth. We may be more familiar with the name by which we worship the Spirit in the Divine Praises: Blessed be the holy Spirit, the Paraclete. Paraclete means called to one’s side to help. (Advocate means that, but we may think first of a professional, which Jesus was not!) As a human Jesus was the first divine helper at our side. He left earth but not his church. His Spirit is Jesus’ presence with us now and until he returns. His is a very quiet presence.

Often at another’s side to help, to encourage, to share a burden we are quiet, no? I call Jesus’ Spirit to my side before an endeavor, and I feel consoled and focused. Jesus’ Spirit works effectively even when quietly working. Calling Jesus’ Spirit to my side makes me aware of Jesus’ Spirit always with me. Calling Jesus’ Spirit to our sides makes his Spirit’s presence personal. Jesus’ Spirit is more than near us: Holy Spirit embraces us, dwells within us and shapes our actions to be Christian ones. Pope Francis highlighted that Holy Spirit “teaches us to love, fills us with joy, and gives us peace.”6 Each keeps us in fellowship with the apostles; makes us witnesses of apostolic love, joy and peace; and unites us and with those most in need.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Let go your anxieties and concerns to rest in our triune God.
  • Ask the apostles to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with Jesus: praise him for dying and rising for you; thank him for sharing with you his divine nature, his Holy Spirit.
  • Ask Jesus to grace you to be more sensitive to his Spirit in you.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Praying it guides us to live by his Spirit daily, to breathe Jesus’ breath. When we do we announce quietly and clearly by our actions that Jesus breathes new life into us and all his friends.
                         Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. Acts 6.4.
  2. John 20.22.
  3. Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 1116.
  4. Acts 1.4...8
  5. Acts 1.14
  6. His homily earlier this week.


Wiki-images of St. Philip and at the Last Supper PD-US

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