PENTECOST, CHRISTIAN UNITY AND WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY. It was a week and a day filled with possibilities one could say, as each of the commemorations could speak to the presence and the work of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, the personification of love. The Thought for the Day for Pentecost given below and some quotations from Pope Francis’ homily also illustrate the gift of love.   

DAILY THOUGHT: June 5.  Pentecost. Also World Environment Day. Jock said, “Pentecost has always and traditionally been celebrated as the birthday of the Church.  It was the day on which, in such a dramatic way, through the tongues of fire, the apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit  as guide, counsellor and comforter, as Jesus had promised. In our post-Confirmation programme we were studying Church history and I found it very interesting how throughout the ages the Holy Spirit seemed to have been given whatever job needed to be done, evangelizing, sustaining the Church, fighting heretics, leading councils. In the 20th century the Holy Spirit as healer and builder of faith became popular. Now here in our 21st century world, with our current need for ecological conversion, it is as if Pope Francis has given him a different task again.  I find the passage in his Laudato Si’ 80 most interesting. Pope Francis writes, ’God, who wishes to work with us and who counts on our cooperation can also bring good out of the evil we have done. The Holy Spirit can be said to possess an infinite creativity, proper to the divine mind, which knows how to loosen the knots of human affairs, including the most complex. The Spirit of God has filled the universe with possibilities and therefore from the very heart of things, something new can always emerge.’“ Jock added, “That is certainly good news for us, young people too, as we face many difficult choices to overcome the harmful aspects of climate change. I do think that issue is able to bring Christians and other believers together. Let us hope that it will also lead to reconciliation where there is conflict.” 

Pentecost flowers

Scripture:  Jesus said, “The counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:23-26.  Pope Francis: The Father is the ultimate source of everything. The son, his reflection, through whom all things were created, united himself to this earth when he was formed in the womb of Mary.  The Spirit, infinite bond of love, is intimately present at the very heart of the universe, inspiring and bringing new pathways. The world was created by the three Persons, acting as a single divine principle but each performed this work in accordance with his own personal property.   When we contemplate with wonder the universe in all its grandeur and beauty, we must praise the whole Trinity.  LS238.  

Pentecost Sunday was also the close of the week for Christian unity.

Prayer for Christian Unity. (available in all South African languages.) Lord God,  who set the moon and the stars in place and gave us your only begotten Son, the Light of the world. Through the light of his presence, heal our wounds and renew our strength. Let the fire of Pentecost melt our stubbornness, reveal all that divides and set us in the path of unity; to the glory of your mighty name. Amen.

Pope Francis on Pentecost Sunday. Pope Francis’ homily during Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica was an invitation to keep listening to the Holy Spirit who teaches us where to begin, shows us what paths to take, rekindles God’s love in our hearts and directs us on our journey. The Spirit is reminding us, to love Jesus is not just a matter of keeping our faithfulness and our devotion. Without love as our basis, all the rest is in vain.  And that love comes not so much from our abilities, but as his gift. The Spirit of love pours love into our hearts, he makes us feel loved and he teaches us how to love. “The Spirit leads us to love, here and now, not an ideal world or an ideal Church, but the real ones, as they are, seen in the broad light of day, with transparency and simplicity,” he said.  “How very different from the evil one, who foments gossip and idle chatter.” The Pope reiterated his call for the Church not to be “a secure sheepfold, but an open pasture where all can graze on God’s beauty.”  It is contrary to the worldly spirit that drives us “to concentrate on our own problems and interests, on our need to appear relevant, on our strenuous defense of the nation or group to which we belong,” he said. 

Our imagination can feast on the image of the wide-open rich green pasture and think back on Sunday’s World Environment Day.  Do we cherish the open pastures, yet filled with an often unnoticed abundance of life?  Or do unfulfilled needs force families, and especially the young, to trek to more congested cities in the hope of a better life? What are the sacrifices and the benefits of any chosen lifestyle and journey through life?  How can the Spirit grant each family and person the gift of wisdom and the fruit of joy.  Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love. TR   FAMILY WEEKLY 8 JUNE