Homily by Fr. Paul Plante
June 4, 2006
Scriptural Reference: Acts 2:1-11; John 20:19-23
An early Catholic writer compared the Holy Spirit to the sun – in nature, so beneficial – even necessary to life and growth. His comparison goes on to show how the same sunshine benefits all kinds of different flowers – and though all different and beautiful each in their own way, are all nourished by the same sun.
So should it be as all of us receive the Holy Spirit. We all have different vocations in the Church. We grow spiritually with the help of a variety of prayer styles – spiritualities that focus on different aspects of the message of Jesus. Some of us might be more prayerful and contemplative; some of us might be defending life, the poor, working for peace – the same Spirit animates all who are inspired to do good. The Spirit brings it all into the one body of Christ, but the way good is achieved can be in so many diverse ways.
People of different races and cultures, people of both genders, people of all ages – all benefit from the same Spirit to fulfill God’s will in so many ways –all together producing the superb garden of flowers so different from one another that one wonders how the same sunshine can accommodate such variety.
Believe in this One Holy Spirit making all the ministries blossom in our community. Believe that if there is a need, the Holy Spirit can give someone in our community the grace to get the task done!
I would like to use the example of the sun – connecting it to the power of the Holy Spirit to make a further point. The Holy Spirit being God’s light in our lives, what might this light bring about in our lives?
Light makes it possible to see whatever is before us. The light of the Holy Spirit can allow you to see the reality that is within you, make you aware of who you are, of what is in your heart. And so, if you are open to allowing the light of the Spirit to shine in your heart, you can discover your qualities – all that God has given you to develop and do good in life, all the potential of love and peace, all the good things you can accomplish if you put your talents to good use. Some people have a hard time doing good things in life because that have a hard time accepting their own talents and qualities. Let the light of the Spirit show you your own goodness and then come to life doing something special with this goodness.
Flashing light in a dark cave can also reveal some dirt – something that needs cleaning up. So too the Spirit’s light in your heart can reveal some deep hurts, hidden and unresolved issues, sins that need to be dealt with. As scary as it might be, what a blessing it is to discover our sins, to grapple with this reality and start the clean-up.
So many of us convince ourselves that this or that is not so bad, that our Catholic Tradition does not understand our changing times, that even though the Church says something is sinful, I can make up my own mind!
All of the above are usually terrible obstacles to any spiritual growth, mostly because we refuse to face the truth.
I think it was Chesterton who said, “I do not need a Church that is right when I am right! But I do need a Church that is right when I am wrong!”
It is not for nothing that humility is such a great virtue and that pride is such a great sin!
May the light of the Spirit reveal both your goodness and your sins – your pride and make you humble. That is the gate to goodness.