Thursday, 12 May 2016

Sunday after the Ascension 8 May 2016 Sermon

Sunday after Ascension 8.5.16 Praying as one.

And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James of Alpheus, and Simon Zelotes, and Jude the brother of James. All these were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. (Acts 1,13-14)
At this time we are re-living the period of the Cenacle, the prayer of Mary, the apostles and disciples, all praying as one.

Their prayer made them receptive to the Holy Spirit. Ever since, the Church has prayed that the Holy Spirit will come afresh on the Church, and every member.

When we pray Come Holy Ghost, we are asking that He come on everyone, not just on ourselves.

This is a generous, open prayer. I could not pray: Holy Spirit, come to me, but not to anyone else!

This prayer excludes all jealousy, meanness of spirit, pettiness.

It costs us nothing to have goodwill to others. Jealousy can eat away at us. Why should they be happy if I am not?

Our prayer for the Holy Spirit is communal in expression and intent.

We pray that all of us will receive Him, and all benefit.

We all need the Holy Spirit, either to correct our faults, or to enhance our virtues. And then, further, to take our place in the life of the Church according to particular gifts and vocation.

The original cenacle gathering was unanimous. We cannot imagine any spite or jealousy in that group, at least not at that time.

But the Church of today is a different story. In every parish, probably in every family, there would be some meanness of spirit, some lack of love, lack of desire for the good of the other.

We know there are serious divisions within the Church on all sorts of issues. We get used to a situation of not being in union with large numbers of our brethren.

However we sort out these issues, one thing is fundamental. We must have mutual charity, and to have that, we must have the Holy Spirit.

This is what we ask as we re-live the time of the Cenacle.

We have to recapture that initial unanimity, oneness of heart.

We all want Him; we all need Him; we must ask together, and receive together.

The solution comes from above if only we ask. We do not have to be perfectly united all at once; but at least to desire what God wants us to have. The unity will come as we proceed.

If we are together, and praying for the same thing, charity will emerge if it was not there to begin with.

The Holy Spirit is a gift to be lavished on all. The more people receive Him, the better for all.

(Moses told those who complained that Medad and Eldad were prophesying: Shall I be jealous on that account. Would that all Israel were prophets! Numbers 11,26)

There can be a certain vagueness about our prayer; a doubt that we can actually achieve any improvement.

How many people would believe, for instance, that there could be complete harmony in a parish, or - even more challenging - complete harmony between nations?

Yet this is the essence of praying for the Holy Spirit to come; He will achieve things of that sort.

And the only reason we don’t see these things is that there are not enough people praying.

It falls to us, blessed by the grace of God, to us who have faith, to keep the candles lit; to pray against all opposition, all darkness, all negative factors – so to bring the Holy Spirit into the Church and world at this time.

We have Mary in our midst, as they did then, to keep us on course.

Come, Holy Ghost!

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