Feast of Pentecost
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. —Acts 2:1–4
In this Pentecost homily, Father Richard Rohr encourages us to recognize and call upon the Holy Spirit, a gift God has already given us!
It is a shame that the Holy Spirit tends to be an afterthought for many Christians. We don’t really “have the Spirit.” We tend, I’m afraid, to simply go through the motions. We formally believe, but honestly, there isn’t much fire to it. There isn’t much conviction. There isn’t much service. We just sort of believe. That’s why in the Gospels there are two baptisms that are clearly distinguished. There’s the baptism with water that most of us are used to, and there’s the baptism “with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11); that’s the one that really matters.
The water baptism that many of us received as children really demands little conviction or understanding. Until that water baptism becomes real, until we know Jesus, and we can rely on Jesus, call upon Jesus, share Jesus, love Jesus, we’re just going along for the ride.
We can recognize people who have had a second baptism in the Holy Spirit. They tend to be loving. They tend to be exciting. They want to serve others, and not just be served themselves. They forgive life itself for not being everything they once hoped for. They forgive their neighbors. They forgive themselves for not being as perfect as they would like to be.
Even though we so often pray, “Come, Holy Spirit,” the gift of the Spirit is already given. The Holy Spirit has already come. You all are temples of the Holy Spirit, equally, objectively, and forever! The only difference is the degree that we know it, draw upon it, and consciously believe it. All the scriptural images of the Spirit are dynamic—flowing water, descending dove, fire, and wind. If there’s never any movement, energy, excitement, deep love, service, forgiveness, or surrender, you can be pretty sure you don’t have the Spirit. If our whole lives are just going through the motions, if there’s never any deep conviction, we don’t have the Spirit. We would do well to fan into flame the gift that we already have.
God does not give God’s Spirit to those of us who are worthy, because none of us are worthy. God gives God’s Spirit in this awakened way to those who want it. On this Feast of Pentecost, quite simply, want it! Rely upon it. Know that you already have it.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Why Do You Ask for What Has Already Been Given?,” homily, June 8, 2014.
Explore Further. . .
- Listen to Richard’s 2016 Pentecost homily “The Divine Sparkplug.”
- Learn more about this year’s theme Nothing Stands Alone.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Arthur Allen, Daily Meditation Spring 2022 Series (detail), 2022, photographs, France. Jenna Keiper, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge the image.
This year we invited a few photographers to share their vision with us in an artistic exploration for the Daily Meditations. The inspiration questions we asked each artist to create from were: How do you as an artist connect to and engage with (S)spirit and/or tradition(s)? How can we translate deeper truths through a lens? How can we show our inherent connectedness (of humans, nature, other creatures, etc.) through imagery? This week’s images by photographer Arthur Allen appear in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story.
Image Inspiration: My point of departure for this project was a question: Do precious things Glow, or are we casting Light on them? I found no answer (in any philosophical sense) but I did notice in my searches that some images—some “strikes to the eye”—positively wanted me to look at them. They called to me as if I had been ignoring them unfairly, the way I might ignore children’s jokes while I am trying to finish taxes. My goal became to ignore them less. I was surprised by how many of these children can fill a day, how many stories they can tell, and just how dream-like their jokes are. —Arthur Allen
Story from Our Community:
My daughter, Claire, who lived with profoundly different abilities helped me come to know the Trinity as an action verb—love. Claire’s physical body failed her gradually throughout her life. She graciously lived with loss after loss, but the one thing she seemed to know in her heart was that the Holy Spirit is the love that lived inside of her. This she would never lose.
Prayer for our community:
God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough, because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.