|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.
Come Holy Spirit, Renew the Church
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Airbus and Boeing have created a new massive airplane called Dreamliner. Airbus A380 has a capacity of over 850 passengers per plane. The planes weigh over 1.2 million pounds! To get off the runway, they have to be going no less than 170 miles an hour. Watching one of these planes, they are absolutely majestic! It is an absolute marvel that such large metal objects can fly at all. One has to wonder how does that much metal fly in the air. We know it is these massive jet engines and the way the wings are positioned; but it is the wind that gets it to fly.1
This is a good image for our Church. On Pentecost, we celebrate what has traditionally been considered the birthday of the universal Church. One has to wonder and marvel at the great work that the universal Church has also done in these last 2,000 years. Yet one cannot help wonder how the universal Church survived.
There is only one answer and that is the breath of the Holy Spirit. The Church has survived because the Spirit has kept it alive. There was always a remnant inside the Church that has listened to the Spirit and has allowed the Spirit to animate them as individuals and also to animate the universal Church itself.
It is that same Holy Spirit that we celebrate in today’s gospel. It is the same Holy Spirit which the Father will send in Jesus’ name to us. Every single one of us is called to listen to that Spirit. The biggest challenge in the Church today is that most people find it hard to pray. We do not listen to the Holy Spirit! The times that we do not listen to the Spirit are the times when things do not go right.
It is in those darker moments that we are called to listen and to dig deeper into our own hearts; to open up our minds and our hearts to that same Advocate, that same Holy Spirit. That requires a change in direction.
As the song goes, “Come Holy Spirit, renew the Church; renew the face of the earth.” We are the Church. If we invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts and into our lives, the Holy Spirit will guide us. That is how we renew the Church. That is how we evangelize the whole world so that it will know who Jesus Christ is and who we are as followers of Christ Jesus.
We ought to take the time each and every day, not just on Sundays, and allow the Holy Spirit to inform each part of our day. We must listen to Jesus and his Spirit and be guided by the Spirit to patience, to kindness, to generosity, to forgiveness, to tenderness. These are the fruits of the Spirit, which we will receive if only we open our hearts and allow the Spirit in. Come, Holy Spirit renew the Church, the face of the earth.
1 Adapted from Deacon Dick Folger, “Celebration: An Ecumenical Worship Resource,” (Kansas City, Missouri: National Catholic Reporter Company, Inc., May 19, 2013).