Come Holy Spirit – Fr. Tom Tank

Fr. Tom Tank’s Homily May 23, 2021

“Today we celebrate that great feast of Pentecost, 50 days after Easter when as promised the Father and the Son sent forth the Holy Spirit upon the disciples and enlivened them and transformed them from hesitant followers to great apostles to great witnesses to the faith and so there is that transformation that the Spirit brought about within the lives of the apostles and this is really the birthday of the Church. It’s the recognition of the beginning of that working of the Holy Spirit that goes on to this day. It is important for us to realize that we are called to truly be people of the Spirit. A few days ago, one of the weekday readings, there was an encounter between Paul and some of the disciples of John the Baptist and they had been baptized by John and Paul said, ‘Have you received the Holy Spirit?’ And they said, ‘We don’t even know what the Holy Spirit is.’ And so Paul realized that they needed some deeper catechesis and so he instructed them and he baptized them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. I thought as I read that reading, I think all of us as Catholics know about the Holy Spirit, but do we really know the Holy Spirit? Do we know the Spirit not just as a name or something in our head, but does the Spirit truly fill our lives and fill our hearts? That’s the important thing is that we are truly transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit that the Spirit is poured into our hearts in baptism in confirmation we have received the Holy Spirit. We are temples of the Holy Spirit. It is the work of the Holy Spirit as the soul of the mystical body of Christ that unites us all together in greater ties than yes, even blood because it is the very presence of God that unites us as the body of Christ and it is the Spirit that brings about that change, that transformation within us to make us ever more new people in Christ Jesus. That’s the beautiful gift of the Holy Spirit and we are called to an intimate relationship with each person of the Trinity, but I would say particularly with the Holy Spirit. In theological terms to God the Father is attributed creation, to God the Son, the Word become flesh, salvation and to the Holy Spirit sanctification making us holy, making us God-like transforming us so that we may be prepared both to witness to Christ in this world and to enjoy Christ’s life forever in Heaven and so we are invited to a deeper prayer life with the Spirit. Last week in the bulletin there was a prayer to the Holy Spirit and there’s a different prayer printed there this week, but I really encourage you to daily pray to the Holy Spirit whether you use one of those prayers or something else, but take some time each day to pray to the Holy Spirit who is within you to transform to continue to help you to grow in holiness of life. It’s interesting that Jesus in the Gospel today which is taken from the Last Supper discourse that he promises that he will send the Holy Spirit, but he says the Spirit of truth. Truth comes from the Spirit. Truth is such an important quality within our world, within our life and it is important that we know truth and that we live truth and we all know that in our own culture and our own society, truth is very relativized and personalized and objective truth lly denied in so many corners of our culture and our society and yet we are called to really be people of truth. I’m reminded of Pilot when he was interrogating Jesus and Jesus said he came to bring truth and Pilot said, ‘What’s truth?’ And that kind of is what our culture says. Truth is irrelevant, it’s what I feel is what’s important, not what I know, not what is revealed beyond me. I have my own truth. I project whatever is true for me. That’s a trap for each and every one of us. That’s the trap that Adam and Even fell into and it’s the trap for each and every one of us, but it’s very prominent within our society today and it’s fashionable about my truth as if I can create it. Truth is the conformative of the individual mind and heart to reality, to objective reality and that that is the challenge for us and there’s many ways in which we can know truth. We can know truth just in reflecting upon the beauty of creation. There’s many laws of truth within creation itself. We can also discover truth within ourselves, yes within our own bodies, within our own minds, but it’s a truth that comes from God and we can know truth through the revelation that God has given us. God became flesh in order to send us the spirit of truth so that we would be able to know what is true and what is false, what will bring about freedom, what will bring about slavery. Jesus said, ‘I am the truth.’ To come to know Jesus and the depth of who Jesus is is to know truth, the truth about what it means to be a human being, about that it means to be in relationship with the Father and what is the dignity that we share and how we should live our life and the eternal hope that we have because of the truth that is Jesus and so we are invited to explore ever more deeply and to come to know that truth to come to know Jesus more intimately to read the scriptures regularly not just when we listen to the on Sunday, but to read them daily to take the catechism of the Catholic Church and to read sections or parts of it to come to know the truth of God’s revelation. There is objective truth in this world, but it is for us to open our minds and our hearts to receive it to pray that the Spirit of truth will transform our hearts and our lives. Come Holy Spirit, come Spirit of Truth, come transform our lives for truly Jesus wants to give each of us the truth that will set us free that will enable us to truly live as free people not with the slavery of sin and error, but rather with the freedom of God’s life of God’s love of God’s eternal promises. Come Holy Spirit.”