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Flame of Blazing and Renewing Fire

by | May 26, 2020 | Formation, Reflections | 1 comment

Jesus is Lord! But we can say this only by the Holy Spirit. And only his flame can renew the face of the earth.

The Holy Spirit comes with the strength of a driving wind that fills the whole house where the disciples are. And a tongue of fire or flame rests on each of them.

The happening sends us back to Gen 1, 2, Ex 3, 2 and 9, 16-19, among other passages. And the stunning features in these passages, in the minds of the Israelites, are normal when the Lord shows up.

But the way he appears to Elijah breaks with the normal (1 Kgs 19, 11-13). For the Lord is not in the wind, earthquake or fire. Rather, he is in “a tiny whispering sound.”

No, we do not wholly know how God, who is beyond what we can understand, describe and hope for, will show up. But what he shows us as true is that he is Lord of nature (Ps 29). And, at once, of history, since for our sake, this God of peace brings order to chaos.

How the Spirit shows up, whether in a flame or in a small still voice, matters little.

What matters is that he comes. Only his flame can set on fire the very depths of our hearts so that they burn with love. Cosmetic changes are not enough (Ps 51, 12; Eph 4, 23; Mt 12, 34), if we do not want to stay lukewarm. If we do not love as Jesus, we will slow down rather than speed up the full coming to be of the new that the Lord is making.

And the Father of the poor helps us, who are poor and weak, to know peace and forgiveness  in our lives. To say, too, “Jesus is Lord!” and pray. He makes his own our prayers so that they ask as God wills.

The Spirit also enables us to love to the utmost. So that we may even go along, as Jesus, with those who pay back our love with loathsome betrayal. After our washing their feet and giving them morsels from our dish, after their kisses.

Our Light from heaven also leads us to all truth. And he strengthens us so that we may live up to it even though it may be hard to bear. He will bring to mind all that Jesus has told us. He will even etch in our memories the marks of the nails and the spear in the one who gave his body up and shed his blood for us.

And the Spirit is the Gift of gifts, many and different. It matters little what is ours, whether stunning or not (LG 12). What is crucial is to work for communion and build up the Church. And it is better to strive for love, the best gift (1 Cor 12, 31 – 13, 13).

Lord Jesus, give us zeal, the flame of your love (SV.EN XII:251). And send us to spread peace and serve the poor quietly and humbly (SLM.EN:660).

31 May 2020
Pentecost Sunday (A)
Acts 2, 1-11; 1 Cor 12, 3b-7. 12-13; Jn 20, 19-23

1 Comment

  1. Thomas McKenna

    Loved that phrase, “Only his (Holy Spirit’s) flame can set on fire the very depths of our hearts…” Thanks

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