Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

The “Gift” of Pentecost

Pentcost Icon 2

By Matt Janeczko, OFM Cap.

So often we hear Pentecost referred to as the birthday of the Church: associated with birthdays, of course, are celebrations, cake, candles, wishes and most especially, gifts.

Indeed, the Church receives a gift on Pentecost: it receives the gift of its own divine life, the Gift of the Holy Spirit that binds the entire community, as Saint Paul says, into a single body.

Yet the very existence of the Church is not a celebration in and of itself: the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church is not a present to be hoarded. We cannot sit within the walls of this church, enjoying the Holy Spirit any more than the Apostles could on the day of their Pentecost.  The very nature of a gift is that it is not earned, nor is their expectation of repayment. And so, the Holy Spirit’s descent on the Apostles in the upper room is not simply a gift, not another present to be opened and then put on a shelf.

The Holy Spirit is not a birthday present, but rather a birthday mission.

We are sent forth from this place, just as the Apostles were sent from their places, into a world equally as challenging, equally as dark, but equally as desperate for the message of Jesus the Christ.

As Saint Irenaeus wrote, the Holy Spirit has given the image and inscription of the Father and Son to us, and it is our mission to make a profit. Irenaeus actually refers to this gift as “two coins,” which need to be invested in others.

The ways in which we leave this place on mission are as different as each person: yet perhaps it is most important to remember that we are all sent, we all have a part to play, we all have the currency of Christ in our hearts: spend this birthday well!!!

 

 

Daily Word: The Ties that Bind

indiana-jones-the-last-crusade

And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”

It’s easy to hear today’s passage from Mark and be a bit put off by the directness of Jesus’ language.

Instead of thinking of what the Lord is saying as primarily exclusionary, perhaps another angle from which to look is its expansive nature.  In the coming Kingdom, family relationships aren’t based upon blood, but rather the Spirit which testifies to each’s relationship with Christ.

What a family!

(Just don’t call me junior!)

What’s a Blog: Thoughts on the Baptism of the Lord

By Brian Niemiec

I’ve never written a blog post before.  I don’t really know where to start.  Br. Matt said that I should write about Baptism, since, well, we are celebrating the Baptism of our Lord today.  And so I’ve been thinking about what I want to say, and I can’t think of anything. I mean, it’s the Lord’s Baptism. Enough said.

I’m reading this book, Forming Intentional Disciples, by Sherry Weddell.  It’s pretty good, even though I’m only fifty pages into it. She told this one story to highlight that many Catholics, even those of us involved as ministers in the church, do not have a relationship with God.  Sure, they go to mass, say their prayers, and believe the teachings and creedal formulas of the Church, but they don’t really talk to God.

I find that extraordinary. Not because my relationship with God is great.  Trust me, Jesus and I have plenty of rough patches.  I am currently in the “we had real quality time during Advent and Christmas, but now Jesus and I need some time apart” dry spell.  I figure that rough patches are part of any relationship, and you have to push through them. Plus, I know if I don’t, the Holy Spirit will give me a swift kick in the &#@.

But having a relationship with God is what Jesus is all about.  Even at the Baptism, Jesus and the Father are so close that the Father makes a cameo: “This is my beloved son; listen to him.” Now I’m still waiting for God and me to get on that level, but I’m sure we’ll get there someday.

It’s funny how this Gospel passage – which is used as one of the transitions into Jesus’ active adult ministry – focuses so much on relationship.  If I was Jesus, I would want my baptism to have a bit more flare: river water into wine, bread from heaven for everyone, or maybe even a healing or two… but I suppose that comes later.

First came the relationship, revealed at Baptism, and it’s the same for us.  Before we receive the Eucharist, learn the Creed by heart, and go out and serve the poor, we have to learn how to talk and listen to God.  Sacraments, tradition, prayer, and of course the many ministers, ordained and lay, that walk with us on our journey with Christ are all there to assist in the most fundamental aspect of what it means to be a Catholic. Jesus gave us the Church to help us build our relationship with God, and allow that relationship to change how we live our lives.

I’m still not sure how blogs are supposed to go, so you probably won’t hear that much from me in the months ahead.  But, who knows, when Jesus and I get back from our mid-winter solitude, I may have some more things to say.