In all the turmoil going on In the world right now we need Gods spirit more then ever. Only God is able to control the chaos that surrounds us. As the Spirit of God hovers over the water of the chaos and created order. So now he can create order in our self created chaos. In life itself we are confronted with situations which seem confusing and contradictory. We wonder where we are going and what the outcome might be. At times we may feel quite helpless in these kinds of circumstances.
But Gods Spirit is always there to guide us through these situations. And to stay in the Pentecost tradition let use the word in some other languages: The Holy Ghost or 'der heilige Geist' in German, 'de heilige Geest' in Dutch and 'lo spirito Santo' in Italian. This Holy Spirit is a kind of being the forgotten person of the Trinity. Perhaps from being a spirit, since for many people today, only tangible, material things are the whole of reality. The Father and Son could be imaged as tangible because one took flesh and the other was portrayed with a venerable beard, reflecting the vision about “the Ancient of Days” (Dan 7:9). Whatever the reason, even among devout Christians the Holy Spirit is often overlooked. But there are good reasons not to neglect the Spirit. The first is the promise of Jesus. At the Last Supper, he promised to send the Spirit, to be an ever-reliable helper, advocate, counselor, teacher, a replacement for Christ himself.
“Unless I go, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” For the earliest Christians, the Spirit sent by Jesus a vital source of energy and missionary spirit. They never forgot his first coming. Beforehand, they were timid and afraid. When the Spirit came over them in a whirling wind, fire and speech, they were transformed. Some bystanders were less poetic in their reaction and sneered, “They’re drunk” (Acts 2:13). In a sense they were right, for drunk they were, spiritually, intoxicated with the Spirit of Christ’s love and eagerness to proclaim his message. The Spirit was breathing among them, and from now on the prayer “Jesus is Lord” would be their motto. They stayed spiritually drunk for as long as they lived, the Spirit coursed in their bloodstream.
We have the gifts of the Spirit, given for service in the Church, unusual gifts like healing or prophecy, designed to meet the needs of an infant Church, and ordinary gifts too, that helped to build up the community: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self control” (Ga 5:22). Whenever we exercise our charisms we honor the Spirit. When we are loyal, console the bereaved, support the old or encourage the young, we are being led by the Spirit. When we resist temptation, we honor the Spirit. When we respond to our better impulses, the Spirit is working in us. The Spirit of God is the rising sap moving all that is best in us. It is through our better instincts that the Spirit works. Our part is to work with him to reach our fullest selves.
Joys and troubles, successes and failures, are woven into daily life, animating or weighing us down. But often we are hardly aware of what’s deepest in ourselves. What we grasp clearly is just a small island amid the wide and deep sea that is life. Sometimes, even what’s most essential and decisive eludes us. The theologian Karl Rahner reminds of this living presence of God’s Spirit working within our own spirit. This can easily be smothered by other things. Mostly, we seem to think that what is wonderful must be very rare, but God’s grace is not like that. There’s a widespread tendency to consider the living presence of the Spirit as reserved to chosen and select people. But Rahner reminds us that God’s Spirit lives in the human heart, since the Spirit is God’s way of sustaining our existence.
The Spirit of God is present even where apparently nothing is happening. The Spirit is there, wherever life is lived and our daily duties are carried out. God’s Spirit works silently in the heart of regular and simple people, in contrast to the pretension of those who think themselves the sole possessors of the Spirit. Pentecost invites us to seek that Spirit in our own selves. It is not a trophy granted only to the elite. We need to welcome the Spirit of God who is the font of all life. This Spirit is for everyone, because the immense Love of God is present to all the efforts and yearnings that spring from the heart of all God’s children. The Bible says that "all who gathered in one room heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven" and also "that something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire".
The Holy Spirit is impossible to visualize, because the Spirit cannot be seen as such. Yet the Holy Spirit is profoundly real. Many things in our universe are real even though invisible to the naked eye. The Holy Spirit belongs to the spiritual world, and it naturally cannot see the Spirit with our eyes. Yet, there are helpful ways of imagining the Holy Spirit. St Paul uses an image drawn nature when he says that the Spirit bears fruit. He means the visible effect of the Spirit on one’s life. We may not be able to see the Holy Spirit, but we can see the effect of the Spirit in our life, just as we cannot see the wind but can see the effect of the wind. Paul is saying that wherever we find love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control, the Spirit is there at work. The Spirit becomes visible in and through these qualities and virtues. The person who most of all had those qualities was Jesus because he was full of the Holy Spirit, full of the life of God.
In Pentecost, humanity appears at its best, united and sharing in wisdom. Pentecost brought about a wonderful bonding of people from all over the Roman Empire. They were united in admiring and praising the marvels of God. In spite of differences of language and culture there was a real communion among them. Wherever communion of heart and mind exist among people of different backgrounds, the Holy Spirit is at work.
Unity in diversity is the mark of the Spirit. It can be like that again if we will let the Spirit work through us. May God grant us such a Spirit to guide us on our way to Him. Amen.