It all sounds like gibberish to me.

Marten_van_Valckenborch_Tower_of_babel-large

Tower of Babel

My priest gave a great Pentecost homily today. He Began by talking about the tower of Babel. The rather over confident (more like arrogant) people of that time wanted to build a tower high enough to reach God – ie. they wanted to control God. When God saw what they were trying to do He confused all their languages. In the confusion and communication breakdown the whole project failed.

Then we have Pentecost. The Holy Spirit descends on the disciples and they suddenly realise they have the ability to speak in all different tongues. They are understood by everyone.

image11

What struck me about these two situations was the issue of control. The people building the tower of Babel wanted complete control. The fools wanted a relationship with God, but they wanted to be in charge. God wasn’t having any of it! They were completely full of themselves. The tower of Babel and desire to be in control was mans initiative.

In contrast, the disciples had let go of themselves and their own ideas had been filled with the Holy Spirit. They had all received many spiritual gifts – power, if you will, but it was God’s power and they knew and respected that. They were not full of themselves but were full of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost was God’s initiative.

dove_glass_in_st__peters_by_xxmegiegurlxx

If we take these ideas into the present day we can see that things have not changed so much! Within the Catholic Church we have certain pro-abortion ‘Theologians’, and certain pro-divorce and remarriage Cardinals. We have the pink clergy brigade and the lunacy of the coven of banshee’s that will not stop screeching about female ordination.

Honestly, some of the stuff these guys come out with is so hard to get one’s head around – it would be easier to decipher and translate an army of Minions than it would be to work out what those groups are saying.

All these groups do seem to want a relationship with God, but they want it on their terms. Oh but hang on a minuet, I do too. There were many years I was having a relationship with Christ but refused to stop using contraception. And then there was the phase when I used to use prayer as an escape from the duties of a wife and a mother. That phase must have been rather tiresome for God. I would turn up to pray feeling all holy and excellent, and then I would just run the show and talk, talk, talk and wouldn’t let God get a word in edgeways! I couldn’t risk actually listening to God – He might tell me that the best place to find Him was in the pots and pans! 😉  – (Teresa of Avila).

And then there is the issue of suffering. “I promise I will believe in You God and I’ll never do anything wrong again – just as long as You don’t ask me to suffer in my life, ever. Well maybe a little bit but only as much as I say is ok…” 

Ha!Ha!

We all try to control God in our subtle little ways. It stems from our chronic lack of trust and chronic lack of humility problem. Yeah, that’s  what was afflicting the Tower of Babel builders, and that’s what affects us today. And when we begin to rely on ourselves in this life we soon find that nothing makes sense – just like the Babel builders did.

But as we see from Pentecost, when we let go of ourselves and our own ideas in complete humility and trust, God can then come and fill that space with His Spirit, and all of a sudden everything makes sense – even the really crazy impossible paradoxical stuff like agape love. We must let go, and let God.

I’m still working on it… 😉

Pentecost – Year A, The Coming of the Holy Spirit

HS+apostles-e1401365637635

First Reading: Acts 2:1-21

2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Peter Addresses the Crowd

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

images (2)

Jesus did not abandon his apostles, even when departing from this world to return to his Father in heaven. Ten days later, at Pentecost, one of his most significant promises — the promise to send the Holy Spirit in abundance on them — was extraordinarily realised. After Pentecost the apostles were never again the same. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit impacted dramatically on their convictions and on their enthusiasm to carry out Jesus’ wishes. The effects were immediately noticeable to the watching and listening crowds. It became obvious that God was working powerfully through the Church. At Pentecost the Church earnestly began its mission to the whole world. This mission centres on preaching about the saving name of Jesus and about the wonders of God. God’s greatest wonder is that, through the suffering and death of Jesus the Messiah, people are saved from the consequences of their sins: alienation from God.

The sacrament of confirmation, which celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives and is the sealing of the graces given in baptism, is our personal Pentecost experience when we are transformed into witnesses to the teaching and example of Jesus and his Church. We willingly take on the responsibility to share our Catholic faith with others. The Feast of Pentecost is a wonderful celebration of the missionary Church. Let us reflect on our missionary efforts in our homes, schools and workplaces. How are we willing to demonstrate that we are serious about our confirmation (Pentecost) responsibilities? In what ways do we explain the authentic teaching of the Church? How do we experience Pentecost as a promise realised in our lives, leading us to make the urgency of the gospel message of salvation a reality for everyone we meet?

 

Thought for the week…  

“They are filled with new wine.”

 

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your love.

 Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the Earth.

 

Download this post in A4 Newsletter format to use in your school or parish: Pentecost.doc    Pentecost.pdf

Pentecost – Year C

“… Receive the Holy Spirit…”

Gospel: John 20: 19-23

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Gospel Summary

The disciples were once again gathered together, and they were afraid. They had locked the doors. The risen Jesus comes in among them. He shows them the wounds on His hands and His side. They are filled with Joy. Jesus tells them “Receive the Holy Spirit…” and breathes the Spirit onto them.

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

How do we allow the Holy Spirit to interact with us every day in our family relationships? Outside of prayer time, are we aware of his loving, gentle presence? We forget that he is with us every day of our ordinary day-to-day lives – even in the most mundane of activities. The sacred, vocational life-giving love of spouses and parents is a sacramental sign of God’s presence and creative action. When two or more are gathered together in Jesus’ name, he is in their midst. Is this not true when spouses, parents and children are gathered together in Jesus’ name?

The Family that Prays together, Stays together!

Think of the normal daily event of meal time. Where is God in this ordinary family activity?  Every family meal has creative, loving, caring, comforting, joyful, patient, kind, generous, emotional and financial supportive elements to it.

Take a few moments before eating this evening to say Grace, and simply thank God for each other: “Dear God, Thank you for Mum and Dad, and… (Name each family member). Please bless our family, Amen”.

  • I recognize the Holy Spirit in our family life when…
  • Our family needs the grace/help of the Holy Spirit because…
  • The Holy Spirit is always present – even in the most mundane of activities!

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. 

Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.

And You shall renew the face of the earth.