Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pentecost Sunday, 2009: A Reflection

Readings for May 31, 2009, Pentecost Sunday:

Pentecost 2009

By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
May 31, 2009

I found it interesting as to how this feast came about and it's meaning so I looked it up in Fr. John Hardens Catholic Dictionary. "Feast commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. It takes its name from the fact that it comes about fifty days after Easter. The name was originally given to the Jewish Feast of Weeks, which fell on the fiftieth day after Passover, when the first fruits of the corn harvest were offered to the Lord. And later on the giving of the law to Moses was celebrated. In the early Church, Pentecost meant the whole period from Easter to Pentecost Sunday, during which no fasting was allowed, prayer was only made standing, and Alleluia was sung more often."

I continue: for the most part from a reflection by Fr. Raniero the preacher to the papal household. For what he says is: that when the Holy Spirit takes possession of a heart, a change comes about. If before there was a "secret rancor or hatred against God" in the depths of a persons heart, now when the Holy Spirit comes from God and attests that God is truly favorable and benign. In other words a Loving God and not an enemy. Ones eyes are opened to all that God has made capable of doing for each of us and to the fact that He did not spare His only Son for us.

The Spirit puts "Gods love" into man's heart. In this way God makes us over into a new persons who Loves God and who willingly does what God asks. God, in fact, no longer limits Himself to telling man what he should do or not do, but man does it with God and in God. The new law, the law of the Spirit, is much more then an indication of ones will; it is an action, a living and active principle. The new law is a new life. That is why it is more often called grace rather than law: "You are not under the law but under Gods Grace".

In a strict sense, then, the new law or the law of the Spirit is not that which Jesus proclaimed on the mount of Beatitudes, but that which He engraved in man's heart at Pentecost. The evangelical precepts are certainly higher and more perfect than the Mosaic laws were; yet, on their own, they too would have been ineffective. If it had sufficed to proclaim the new will of God through the Gospel, we would be unable to explain why Jesus died and why the Holy Spirit came. But the apostles themselves showed that it was not enough. They heard everything, for example, that we should turn the other cheek to the those that strike us, and yet at the moment of the Passion they were not strong enough to carry out anything of what Jesus had commanded. If Jesus had limited Himself to proclaiming the new command saying; "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another", it would have remained what it was before, just an old, written law. It was at Pentecost when He poured His love into the hearts of His disciples by means of the Spirit that it became, by right, a new law, the law of the Spirit that gives life.

This new law, this new way of life, is a pure gift from God, a free gift of Grace.

So once again as we reenter Ordinary time we are called to live the life of Grace. Scripture reminds us that we are to be a peculiar people. In other words a people set apart to fulfill the will of God in our lives and to manifest this new way of life to the world.

'Thank you' to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here.


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