Gospel Reading for Pentecost and a Reflection

John 7:37-39

Rivers of Living Water

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” ’ Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

 

Reflection

Fr. Michael

Jesus said “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20: v22)

For centuries human beings have harnessed the power of the wind. Long ago we learned that boats with sails move faster than boats without. Windmills caught the wind and ground wheat into flour. Even in our own time huge turbines rotate in the wind and provide some of the electricity on which we depend. And fire – this has enabled mankind to cook food and heat homes even at the most basic level.

It is interesting to see that in today's reading from Acts, the Holy Spirit, the energy of God, is described in such terms as wind and fire. Jesus breathes the Spirit on His disciples and the Spirit appears in Acts as tongues of fire and rushing wind.

Here is powerful imagery – fire that warms – wind that blows – here is the turning point for those first Christians. They are no-longer a frightened little group, they are made strong – a group of people who were passionate to take the love of God to the entire known world.

They took risks for God – and so it is for us today. If you ask the Holy Spirit to lead you, to prompt you, you are indeed taking a risk – you may be asked to do things you never thought you could – and there are many, many forms of ministry. But we must heed to Spirit’s promptings – God will always give you the strength you need. The Holy Spirit – the Comforter (that word derived from Latin meaning “strength”) will tell you what to say.

The Holy Spirit is at work here and now – if we truly open hearts and minds to the Spirit, we come to share the passions that Jesus had – and to spread his love. The way the Holy Spirit works in the world today is through YOU and ME. When we listen to the anxious and lonely – when we pray with them and for them, we are using the Spirit’s gift of generosity. When we speak out for a change in the way the world works so that men and women will not be ground down by poverty. When we pray for the Church, for the courage to reach out and share our faith in Jesus we may be sure that the Spirit will guide us if we really listen. The Church must look beyond the Church. Left to our own devices we might prefer, like those first disciples to lock ourselves away or stay only as a gathered community of believers. But Jesus calls us to share the Good News of the kingdom and for this we need God’s Spirit to give us energy and purpose and courage to speak. We do not pray to the Holy Spirit simply to have a warm glow of God in our hearts, rather, we pray for the energy of God, so that we might go out, speak up and draw others to know Christ.

Every Blessing,

Fr. Michael


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