It must have been infectious. At least, that is how I imagine it on that first Pentecost morning. The Apostles joy must have been infectious. Once the Holy Spirit arrived and their hearts were renewed, the Apostles burst forth and began to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. The joy of knowing Jesus Christ and proclaiming Him as Lord had replaced the fear and shame that held them captive since His crucifixion and death. They became infectious with joy. And that joy spread throughout the nations.
The descent of the Holy Spirit on that Pentecost morning replaced their fear with joy. The Holy Spirit overcomes fear. We know from Scripture that the disciples fled in fear once Jesus was arrested. They remained hidden, mainly behind locked doors, out of fear that they might suffer the same fate. Even after Jesus’ resurrection this fear did not suddenly go away. Fear still had some hold on them. It weakened their confidence and stifled their enthusiasm. But when the Holy Spirit descended upon them at Pentecost, everything changed.
The Apostles and disciples began to joyfully proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Fear had been replaced with joy. They had no fear of proclaiming the Truth, because they felt “that they were in stronger hands”, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once said. He continued, “Yes, dear brothers and sisters, where the Spirit of God enters, He chases out fear; He makes us know and feel that we are in the hands of an Omnipotence of love: whatever happens, His infinite love will not abandon us.”
So the Holy Spirit chased out their fears by reaffirming within them the confidence that God loves them. He reaffirmed that God’s infinite Love will not abandon them no matter what happens. This is the gift of the Holy Spirit. He makes us know and feel that we are in the hands of Omnipotent Love. The Holy Spirit reminds us that we are deeply loved by God. It is this knowledge and real experience of feeling loved by God that was infectious. The Apostles were reminded by the Holy Spirit that they were deeply loved by God. The tongues of fire were a visible reminder that God was with them and He deeply loved them.
This is the gift of the Holy Spirit. He reaffirms within us that we are deeply loved by God and He remains faithful to us, even if we fall short. Once we drop our guard and allow ourselves to be loved by God we become changed people. Allowing ourselves to be loved by God transforms us. It impacts us in a way that becomes our “Pentecost” moment.
Once we know we are “in stronger hands”, then we have no fear of proclaiming the Truth. Fear is replaced by joy and this truth of being loved by God becomes the message on our lips. This is the power behind the “witness of the martyrs, the courage of the confessors, the frankness of preachers, the example of all the saints — some who were even adolescents and children”. The real knowledge of knowing we are loved by God, despite our limitations and faults of men, gives us the courage and enthusiasm to proclaim the truth about Jesus Christ.
In this Year of Faith, allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the light of the Holy Spirit. Allow yourself to soak in the knowledge that God deeply loves you, even with all your human limitations and faults. Allow yourself to rest “in stronger hands” and feel His Love for you. Know in your heart that whatever happens, His infinite love will not abandon you. Then become infectious. Let the joy of knowing Jesus Christ and experiencing His Love replace any fears you may have and bring this Truth to the lives of others. Invoke the Holy Spirit so He can guide us to the truth of Jesus Christ and let us become infectious.
Cimply Putting It…
Thank you Jean Klein! This is Jean’s last weekend as the music director for St. Michael Parish. We have been blessed by her expertise for 19 years. She will be deeply missed. Jean not only knows her liturgical music but she has used her music to help people grow in their faith. Her choirs have become communities of support for each other. Jean’s life is centered in prayer and she has used that to help us see what St. Augustine years ago said: He/she that sings prays twice. Jean will continue to be around our parish and will stay as director of the Jubilation Singers. God Blessing upon you Jean!
I am happy to announce that Ann (Puthoff) Gooley will be our new director beginning this July. Ann is currently the Music Director of Sand Creek Elementary School in Colorado Springs, Co. She also is the choir accompanist for St. Mary Cathedral in Colorado Springs. Ann is from Humboldt, SD. She graduated with a BA in vocal music from Augustana College in 2000. She was summer camp Dean for Augustana from 2001-2009. She, her husband David, and their children decided they wanted to return to South Dakota. You will be hearing more about her in July.
Make it a great week. clc