We just celebrated Pentecost on May 20 – the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples after the death and resurrection of Jesus. What a wondrous gift and challenge! God the Father, Son and Spirit has created us, walked with us and leads us to new life – if we are open to it. Indeed, in Acts 2:1-11, and in so many other passages, we hear of the coming of the Spirit upon the early disciples and all of God’s people.
What a wondrous experience it can be when we are open to the Spirit, and also what a frightening or stretching experience it can be as well – for that same Spirit that brings us new life calls us to reach out to all people and to live out all that Jesus modeled, and models, for us in his own life, to stretch us beyond where we thought we could go.
The same Spirt who filled the hearts of those early disciples sent them forth, as does the Spirit do for us, and as that same Spirit has done through all of history to all people who are open to him – often we are sent into situations and out to people they/we do not expect.
Let us rejoice in the presence of the Spirit who moves us at all times. If it is “of the Spirit” he leads us to new life always, even when we may not expect it, or even when it takes us a long time to notice the presence of the Spirit, to discern to where we are being called, and to actually respond.
Paul would have not come to reach out to the new Christian community much less to become an apostle to the Gentiles that he came to be known as – unless he finally opened up to the Spirit who moved him to this, to be sure. And, the early disciples were understandably hiding in an upper room after the unjust death of Jesus and yet in time were led to go forth to all the world.
This Spirit led them to the waters of the river Jordan, and to the sadness of Calvary, and led them to welcome all people and to forgive those who they struggled to deal with – the list is long of the power, the grace and the life of the Spirit for those who opened up to him. And while we remain all different with different gifts, talents and weaknesses, we remain part of the same “body” – somehow we are one, and seek to walk together in faith and love in the risen Lord and with the Spirit.
Let us remain open to the Spirit who seeks to walk with us, lead us and stretch us to new life. Let us remain open to the Spirit of life and of truth, even when we do not notice or accept his presence at first. Let us remain open to the Spirit and support one another in keeping our hearts, our doors, our lives, open to the Spirit and to the presence of Jesus. God is truly the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Let us remain open.
The presence of the Spirit will always move us forward to new life, as the grace and love of Jesus unites us in his life, forms us into his people and leads us. May this Pentecost be a time of greater openness for us all to the love and call of God to us all to form his people with Jesus his Son, and through the Spirit of truth and life.
Fr. John E. Krumm is the pastor of St. Brigid Catholic Church in Xenia and St. Augustine in Jamestown and St. Paul in Yellow Springs and guest columnist.