Homily by Fr. Paul Plante
June 11, 2000
Scriptural Reference: Acts 2:1-11; John 20:19-23
Reflect with me a bit as we imagine a very special parish situation – something that seems very idealistic – far-fetched and unrealistic – but with a deeper understanding in faith may be closer to our grasp than we first thought.
Imagine that in this parish there is one single person who knows the parish perfectly well, is aware of everything that goes on here, knows what it takes to organize everything that happens here, knows also what it costs to get all of this done. Not only does this person know everything about the parish but also knows what it would take to get many other things started – how many people would be needed, the amount of time and the cost. Furthermore, this one person knows everybody in the parish and knows each one very well – has all the information on each one’s talents and skills, what each person would do well and what each person would not be good at. Even such personal things as levels of shyness, fears and phobias, shame and guilt because of past sins – all this is known.
To top it all, this one person knows the total financial situation of every parishioner – income, spending, money in the bank, cold cash hidden wherever.
Thus far, this imaginary very well informed person wants to serve the Church and so spends individual time with each parishioner suggesting what each one could do for the Church. It is quite a process but each parishioner is visited and given some needs that could be seen to by each person – always respecting one’s abilities, each one’s available time and each one’s level of wealth.
One is asked to teach, another to organize events for children and young people. One is asked to pray and another to visit the sick. One is recruited to be a lector and another to be on a commission. One will sing or play a musical instrument and another will some cleaning. One will be reminded that more could be shared in the weekly collection and other good causes, another that help to better manage money would make life much better.
If we had that kind of person making this kind of personal contact with each one of you here and all the parishioners who are not here today, what kind of parish would this become?
All the needs and more would be seen to. Everybody would participate, everybody would give to full capacity!
By now you are perhaps thinking that if Fr. Paul is going to dream, why doesn’t he do it at night, while he is asleep like everybody else?
Let me answer you. Simply because, in a sense I am dreaming and in a sense I am telling you what it could be really like!
This is Pentecost and that imaginary person who can tell every person what he or she could be doing in the community of the Church really exists: the Holy Spirit.
If we were all willing to listen to the Spirit we would all know what to do, how to pray, what is good and right, in what area each one should be involved, even how much money each one should give. If we all listened to the Spirit we would all hear what we – each one – needs to hear. We would not all hear the same thing because the Spirit has a message for each, but if it were really from the Spirit it would all come together perfectly.
You want to be holy. You want to fulfill God’s will. You want this to be a greater parish. Believe that the Holy Spirit wants to inspire you today.
As you listen to the Spirit, make one decision for your personal spiritual growth; make one decision for the good of the parish.