During my Novice year with the AIHM, that year of formation and learning what it means to be a religious and an Augustinian, I kept waiting to be a part of them, to belong. I couldn’t wait to celebrate that moment when it happened. Very near the end of that year, just before I was to make my first profession, I mentioned that to Bp. Joseph. He kind of cocked his head and looked at me, and I was afraid I had said something wrong, but then he said, “You’re already a part of us.”
The moment I had waited for, had already happened and I didn’t see it, didn’t notice it.
I’m sure each of you has had that same experience in your life. Realizing that what you were looking for, searching for, was right there in front of you.
The readings today express that same kind of “I can’t wait until…” They look forward to the coming of the Holy Spirit. And indeed, we are looking forward to the celebration of Pentecost in a couple of weeks.
But, my sisters and brothers, we already have the Holy Spirit. We are not sitting and waiting for her. She is already with us, in us, leading us.
Our preparation and celebration of Pentecost should be a three-fold one: Remembrance of that great event – the birthday of the Church, a celebration of the now – we have the Spirit, and then action – going out into the world filled with the love and joy the Spirit gives us, and being an example of that same Holy Spirit to others.
Our hearts should already be filled with that Joy and praise. Our words should be those of the Psalmist:
“Shout joyfully to God, sing praise to the glory of his name. Say to God, ‘How tremendous are your deeds!’ “
We come today and every Sunday, not just because we are supposed to. We come to worship God, to praise God, and yes, ask for our needs from the God who loves us. Our worship should be filled with joy, our worship should be Spirit filled.
We’ve had hands laid on us in our baptism and in our confirmation, we have been given the Holy Spirit and have been given her gifts. We are here to celebrate that, to give God thanks and praise for this great gift.
I know as Catholics we are not always comfortable with the charismatic side of the Holy Spirit. We’re almost afraid sometimes to bounce with that inner happiness, that inner tingling we get when the Spirit touches our hearts. But we shouldn’t be! We need to become comfortable with her and accept that yes, sometimes the Holy Spirit just wants us to remember why we are here.
Life is not easy. We know it is full of heart ache, disappointment, suffering of all kinds. So, take those moments of joy when they come. Let your lips shout out as the psalmist does:
“Blessed be God who refused me not my prayer OR his kindness!”
Do not be afraid to let the Holy Spirit move you. When you see a homeless person on the street or begging for money; a young child that that has suffered at the hands of the people that were supposed to love him; a young mother struggling to provide for her family; That empathy, that sorrow we feel for them is not only our love for them touching us, it is also the Spirit moving in us to remind us of our call as Christians – to serve those in need.
When we celebrate with others a baptism, a wedding, the purchase of a new home, it is the Spirit that raises our hearts in happiness for them.
Now our question becomes:
When we leave this place, how are you going to live in the Spirit, express your belonging, show others they belong, and shout joyfully to God?