Sunday, June 4, 2017

It Could Happen to Us...

Pentecost - Yr A - 2017
Ss. Peter & Paul, Danville, KY

Wouldn’t it be awesome if what happened that first Pentecost happened to us here in our parish?  Wouldn’t it be amazing if – while we were here celebrating Mass – the Holy Spirit came down upon us and set our hearts and souls on fire – so on fire that we began to preach the Gospel to everyone around us in a way they could understand? And on Brass Band weekend too.  We’d leave here so filled with the Holy Spirit that folks in town would whisper behind us as we headed home: “They’re preaching the mighty acts of God!

Imagine what that would be like! Couples seeking out our parish – even if they weren’t Catholic – because they see something they want to nurture happy, healthy, loving families. Centre College students make the 3 block trek down Main Street in droves – twice or three times a week because the life of faith that we live is so enticing they can’t resist the allure of the Great Adventure we’re living.  Imagine our young people eager to see what happens on the other side of Confirmation – running to find ways to participate even more fully in the life of faith (rather celebrating their ‘graduation’ from CCD.)  Imagine that the homeless turn toward us because we provide for their humanity – the drug addicted turn toward our common life of faith because they see we have the answers and healing living life centered around Jesus. 

Imagine being so drawn into the life of faith that this community – this people – this place becomes the center of our days.  That we come here often to pray, to fellowship, to learn, to serve…  Imagine…  Imagine what that would be like.

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I think it’s possible.  In fact – I know it’s possible.  I’ve seen it happen.  I’ve seen communities of faith like our own – that are doing a good job – I’ve seen them ‘catch fire’ with the Holy Spirit and become humming centers of transformation, change, and faith for their entire town.  I’ve seen them transform the steady pace of maintenance into the exciting, energized marathon of mission.  And it always starts with the Holy Spirit.  Come Holy Spirit…

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It happened for the apostles at Pentecost – that powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit that takes what already is and transforms it into even better.  It happened for them, and it can happen for us, too.  But how, Father – HOW?  It’s simple, really.  If we want what they had, we have to do what they did.

If we want what they had, we have to do what they did.  And what did they do?  They expected the coming of the Holy Spirit, they looked for Him wherever they were, and they remained together in one place. 

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Are we doing that…?  Are we expecting the coming of the Holy Spirit? That means finding a way to invite the Holy Spirit into our lives – and not just where we feel safe enough to invite Him – but to invite Him into wherever and whatever He pleases, whenever He pleases.  What if we started our days by praying a simple prayer:  Come Holy Spirit – come into my life wherever and however you want – and set me on fire!  What if we prayed that with our family?  What if we prayed that before every Mass we attend?

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And then – what if we actually began to look for the coming of the Spirit. What if we began to look for the Holy Spirit the way we look for tornadoes in the spring?  What if we began to sit up straight and listen to the readings and the homily looking for the Holy Spirit – expecting the Spirit to show up and set us on fire.  What if we walked around our homes or went about our jobs looking for the Holy Spirit?

And what if we worked hard – made it our highest priority – to really be, as a community of faith, together in one place.  The second chapter of Acts begins this way: ‘When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.’ 

Together in one place means working hard to be of similar heart and mind.  Together in one place means that we have similar objectives, similar priorities, and similar ideas about how were moving forward into the future. Together in one place means that our differences of opinion fade and become secondary to the effort we invest in moving forward together… togetherTogether in one place means we’re all us – each of us – doing our part, doing something more than sitting here once a week – doing our part to share the ministry of this parish for the spread of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. 

That first Pentecost, the apostles were so together in one place that even when they went out to the corners of the world, they somehow remained together.  Imagine what might happen in the life of our parish if our physical gatherings began to be mirrored by a more spiritual reality of truly being together…  Can you begin to pray and dream about how to make that happen?  Can you admit what part you need to play in making that happen in our parish?

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Brothers and sisters – I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to transform the life of faith into something that is alive, all-consuming, more rewarding than we can imagine, and fruitful beyond our wildest dreams.  I believe the Holy Spirit is capable of consuming whatever lingers in us that holds us back.  I believe the Holy Spirit can ignite in us the spark of divine energy that will transform this thing we call ‘living the Christian life’ into a Great Adventure that changes the world.  And I believe you and I can catch that spark – I believe we can be set on fire with the Holy Spirit just like the apostles that first Pentecost.  I believe if we do what they did, we’ll find those tongues of fire dancing on our heads and experience this life like never before. 

If we do what they did, we’ll get what they got.  So let’s begin to expect the coming of the Holy Spirit, let’s look for the Holy Spirit wherever we go, and let’s work to be – heart and mind, truly – together in one place.  

Come Holy Spirit!

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