The family that prays together...
                                                  ...stays together.

The Virgin Mary
Today's Readings
Pope Francis

A Bridge Over Troubled Water

A voice of a Deacon.  

Homily for Pentecost (and every day.)

           Today we celebrate the Holy Spirit’s official entry onto earth and it’s interaction with humanity—specifically the chosen Apostles.  Although the Holy Spirit has been here since the creation of the world, it did not have a known public presence until this point in time.  Jesus’ gift to all came when the fiery tongues appeared over the heads of the gathered group in the locked upper room in Jerusalem.      

            Remembering back to when I wore child’s clothing, I can hear my mother talking to me and trying to explain the Holy Ghost.  A fare amount of you here today probably remember the Holy Ghost; the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  

            I built a picture in my mind of the Holy Ghost—he was like Casper the friendly ghost, except he wasn’t made from a white sheet like Casper.  No sir, I made his form from a light blue sheet, like the color of the sky on a clear day ‘cause the sky is where heaven is!  Not bad logic for a six or seven year old.

            The Holy Ghost!  Then, as I journeyed through various ages on my way to adulthood, somewhere along the line the Holy Ghost morphed into the Holy Spirit.  Today we talk about the Holy Spirit. 

            Lately I have wondered how we came up with that descriptor? You won’t find Holy Spirit in scripture; you also won’t find Holy Ghost.  What can be found is, ‘the Father will send you another’; and you’ll find the Spirit; or the Spirit of God; Spirit of Jesus; the Spirit of Truth; the advocate; the Paraclete.   All of these terms describing the third named of the holy Trinity.  The Christian Triune God with three distinct persona—all of the same substance, consubstantial—coming together in one divine entity we humans call God, or Yahweh, or Allah, or the Creator, the Supreme Being and on and on.  It seems confusing, and that may be one of the factors influencing our current LOSS of real contact with the Holy Spirit.

            How many times do we pray to the Holy Spirit?  We pray to Jesus, we pray to the Father, and in one prayer, “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit…” one prayer, we do pray to the Holy Spirit.  That entity seems to be like the person people forget or ignore when they gather in a group situation.  We have lost our vision of the Holy Spirit and its very great importance in our lives.  It is an equal part of our Triune God.

            Jesus had reached a time of departure; his human form had passed while on the cross, it died there.  His spiritual form, which his followers had trouble recognizing, was about to return to the Father.  The Father’s gift to his Apostles and followers was the Holy Spirit of the Triune God, living in them, guiding them, strengthening them, helping them focus on Gods work in this life.

            That gift has been passed down to all of us.  Initially thru our baptism the Holy Spirit took up residence in our soul.  Confirmation strengthened its power to help guide us on a path that leads us through Jesus to the Father.

            The Holy Spirit is indeed our ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ as Paul Simon wrote almost fifty years ago.  After the fall from grace, humanity became incapable of fully coming into communion with our maker by our own efforts.  Without that bridge we would simply be standing on the edge of an embankment looking across a vast body of water, or ground, or whatever—unable to get to the mountain on the other side.

             Too often we view Pentecost Sunday as an anniversary celebration for an event that happened 2000 years ago to a small group of guys and a few women.  It should be celebrated as revitalization for the Spirit that we all have living within each and every one us.

            By following the spirit’s guidance in our daily lives we put ourselves in communion with our Lord—and as importantly, we’ll find ourselves helping others on their journey.  When we do that, it becomes apparent that we help ourselves more than if we concentrated all our efforts just on our own justification.  That’s the way that the Spirit works.

            As Paul Simon wrote in that song some time ago, I quote;

“When you’re weary, feeling small,

When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all.

            I’m on your side. When times get rough

And friends just can’t be found,

            Like a bridge over troubled water

                        I will lay me down.”

            The Lord’s Spirit is part of our persona.  Almost a hundred years ago a fellow who was a scientist, Jesuit Priest and theologian, said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”  Fr. Teilhard de Chardin was referring to our similarity to Jesus of Nazareth. 

This is a holiday weekend, so most of us will have an extra play day and an increased chance to relax.  With a sense of relaxation and peace in mind, let me offer up a suggestion.

            Sometime during the coming week we will find ourselves in front of a mirror, most of us in the mornings as we prepare ourselves for the day.  Take time to look deeply at the image in the mirror.  Hopefully the Spirit of our Lord, the Spirit of Truth, the Paraclete, the Advocate, will jump out at us.

            If we’re not sure we see it clearly, then we might say something like this.  “Hey, I know your are in there oh Holy Spirit.  I know you are there!  Now, I need you to come out of there.  Come out here and be with me; offer me guidance today and I promise, I promise that I’ll follow the path you lead me on.  After all, you are my personal bridge over troubled water.”

 Deacon Bob

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