Tired of all the bad news

While we can't deny the difficulites for so many people at home and overseas, it's important to take account of the positives, and to spread the Good News. I don't know who said this but; "No-one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side." Blessings..

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Pentecost - The Birthday of the Church

In some ways, Pentecost Sunday, the Birthday of the Church, a major Church occasion, is disadvantaged out there. We all understand Christmas Day more in terms of Christmas presents, Christmas cards, Christmas Dinner, Christmas cake etc. We also get Easter too because of Easter Eggs, the Easter bunny, Easter parades for example.

In the lead in to the Ascension, which we celebrated in the Church ten days ago, we see Jesus reminding his disciples and followers that it is necessary for him to go. They were frightened and confused perhaps because they didn’t want it all to end. They witnessed so many wonderful things that Jesus did in his public ministry; they literally saw people lifted out of paralysis, out of fear, out of poverty, out of death, and out of sin. And now it was all over. Jesus reminded them that it was necessary that the Christ should suffer. This was something that they were afraid of too.

Before he ascended into heaven he told them some things about the future.
From Matthew’s Gospel we read “Jesus said to his disciples, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me; go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commandments I have given to you. And know that I am with you always, yes, to the end of time. “ (Matt 28:19)

In the gospel according to John, Jesus also said; “I have told you all these things that you may find peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but have courage, I have conquered the world…” (John 16:33)

Jesus had to go in order for the Holy Spirit to come down upon the Church. He said so again in John’s gospel; “I tell you solemnly, it is for your benefit that I go because unless I go, the Advocate cannot come…” (John 16:7)

We believe that Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. While the disciples were for many days hidden in fear after the Resurrection of Jesus, they needed the power of the Holy Spirit to fortify them for this great mission. This power came upon them in the form of tongues of fire and it fuelled them for the mission ahead.

Our young people who are confirmed probably don’t fully realise what this means and in fairness while they learn about it in school and at home, I wonder if it sinks in beyond the nice clothes and the money. But it does work away there in the background. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit work away in those confirmed each day.

In these days we are preparing for a constitutional referendum in Ireland. We are all encouraged to study all the facts and to be as informed as possible before we vote. On both sides of the debate; passionate and sincere people have highlighted honestly felt beliefs. For me, my belief is the unborn child is made in God’s image and likeness and has a right to life, therefore, I am going to vote No. We are all talking about the sermon Bishop Michael Curry preached at the royal wedding yesterday. He powerfully spoke of when 'love is the way.' He said “We were made by a power of love.” He concluded his sermon by praying; “And may God hold us all in those almighty hands of Love.”

Pentecost Sunday is the birthday of the Church and we all love to celebrate birthdays, they are important – especially to our younger people. We celebrate these special days because we have been born. We pray for the powerful love of the Holy Spirit to be with us all in these days and always. Amen.

Come, Holy Spirit, from heaven shine forth with your glorious light.

Come, Father of the poor, come, generous Spirit, come,
light of our hearts.

Come from the four winds, O Spirit, come breath of God;
disperse the shadows over us, renew and
strengthen your people.

You are only comforter, Peace of the soul.
In the heat you shade us; in our labour you refresh us,
and in trouble you are our strength.

(Taize / Jacques Berthier)