Pentecost Sunday 24.5.15 The human side of the Church
Pentecost is where the divine meets the human and lifts it to a higher level.
Can we fit the whole ocean into one bottle? No. But we can fill the bottle so that it contains nothing but water.
Nor can we fit all there is of the Holy Spirit into one soul. Infinity cannot be contained.
But we can fill the soul with only what is good and holy. And this we are striving to do, especially today, on this great feast.
We continuously ask the Holy Spirit to come to us; much as we continually receive God the Son in Holy Communion.
If we are bottles then we are leaky ones at that; so it takes a lot of asking for us to receive enough of God to the point that it makes a difference.
Our sin, and general lack of faith make it harder for us to receive Him; but then what we do receive of Him removes the sin and increases the faith; so that, over time we can expect to make progress.
It has been difficult but it is clearly something that God Himself wants, all the same.
The whole idea of the Incarnation shows that God wants to save us through our humanity, not in spite of it, but through it.
Our Lord could have come to the earth as a fully-grown adult, but instead He passed through all the earlier stages – baby, child, manhood; then the public ministry, and finally returning to the glory of Heaven.
And now the Church: all-too-human in its weakness, prone to sin and error, immersed in scandal; aspiring to the divine but nearly always falling short.
Our Lord takes our humanity and raises it, rather than simply overruling us. We would like Him to do everything for us, but He works through us, not around us.
He is showing us that there is more to Salvation than just being forgiven for our sins, or just going to heaven when we die. Salvation begins in this life and requires that we allow God to dwell within us. We are to receive God into our hearts and minds, and then allow Him to direct us from within.
Each one of His disciples, high or low, is called to this – covering not only our external behaviour but even the way we think; to be Christ-like.
So that sin becomes unthinkable; as it was for Our Lady. As it is in Heaven, where no one sins, though they still have free will.
When we know God well enough we would never dream of offending Him.
We are called to better behaviour, certainly, but prior to that we are called to stronger belief.
Call it belief or knowledge, the end result will be better behaviour.
So we can reach a point where, even though Our Lord has left His Church in human hands, it does not have to be riddled with scandals.
He has done this to bring out the best in us and complete the full plan of salvation.
So we ask Him to make it easier by sending help. He will help if we are prepared to see it His way.
And we discover the freedom and joy that come from doing it His way – humanity enlightened and enlivened by divinity as the Holy Spirit comes upon us.
With the help of Mary we reach another Pentecost, and we draw more deeply than ever from the well of divine graces, allowing our own selves to be purified, and praying for the whole Church - that every member will receive something special from the Holy Spirit, and answer the call to holiness.