|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Symphony of Life
Think for a moment of a symphony orchestra with all the musicians on the stage and the hundreds of people there to watch and to listen. Who are they all watching? Most everyone watches the conductor. Ironically, he doesn’t play a single note. Yet once he twitches, the music starts. Often the conductor is not even the composer. Yet, the conductor has a great and powerful influence on what happens.
This is a wonderful metaphor for our Church. The conductor is Christ Jesus. Everybody looks to Christ for the nod. As members of the Church, we are the musicians. Each of us has a different musical instrument to play, and each is called to play our own individual part to add to the symphony. The Church is the music in action, the symphony.
The musical score is written on our hearts by God, the composer. In a score written for a symphony, there are many parts; each instrument has a different part of the score, but all instruments play together in harmony. The music is written uniquely for each one of us. Each note is written for the sounds of who we are. We are called to make music together. The Holy Spirit is the gift of music, and through him we know how to play.
Today’s feast of the Holy Spirit is Pentecost, and we celebrate the music we make together as Church. The Holy Spirit is the one that allows for everything to ebb and flow. As Christians, we believe that it is the gift of the Spirit for each of us in our own lives that enables us to know the music.
It is this same Spirit that was given to the apostles years ago, on what we now consider to be the feast day of the beginning of our Church. It is that same Spirit that comes to every generation. Each one of us is unique in who we are, and then we are called to play that music. We play our music not as a single instrument — but as a community, as a symphony of music. As St. Paul says to the Corinthians, each of us has a different gift given for the good of the whole.
The music is one piece although each part is different for our particular gift. That is what makes church “Church;” we come in at the instruction of the conductor—Christ. When the conductor gives us the nod, the twitch, then we know to come in, that is the way of Christ. He gives us that knowledge through the Spirit.
In the Acts of the Apostles we are told that everyone understood what was being said even though everyone spoke a different language. The Pope tells us the common language is the language of love and mercy. We are called as Christians, all of us, to be people of forgiveness, to be people of love.
How do we play this music of love? Allow the Spirit to guide us. Listen to Christ because he gives us the musical score that is the law and the music of love.