Go and Announce the Gospel of the Lord!
When we end Mass, it is the Deacon’s role to send the people of God forth with an instruction – “Go and Announce the Gospel of the Lord!” This instruction comes from the Holy Spirit, from Pentecost Sunday
But what do we need to know in order to announce the Gospel? How often do we take time to consider how we should listen to this instruction, and Respond to it?
Today is the Feast of Pentecost, where we celebrate that Christ sent the Holy Spirit as He promised to the Church. The same Spirit that filled the Church 2000 years ago fills you and I today Brothers and Sisters. I fear that we are too distracted by our lives to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and so I want everyone today to be encouraged and to pay attention to the way that we can be attentive to the Holy Spirit and proclaim the “Good News” of Jesus Christ to the world.
Proclaim the Great works of God!
To start our reflection I want to begin with the Psalm today. The Psalm begins with the proclamation about the great things that God has done for us.
Take time to Contemplate – Take time to consider God’s gifts!
When was the last time that you or I took time to consider the wonders of God’s Love? Do we take stock of God’s blessings in our lives? If not – let’s take a moment to figure out what we want to thank God for.
Why is God Great? - What is my experience of God’s Love?
- In my life?
- Has he blessed me with a good life?
- A good Spouse?
- Work / Food / Security?
God Creates EVERYTHING!
We see from the Psalm that God creates – and He creates abundantly. Everything that we can see, touch, taste, feel, hear – it all is created by God each day. This is why the psalmist proclaims that God is Great.
At their heart, praying the Psalms is about taking time each day in our lives to contemplate the goodness of God. Contemplation is a style of prayer where we look to see where God is working in our lives. It is a time of quiet where we try to unite our hearts with God’s.
Two ways of Contemplation – Adoration and Scripture
Our Faith has many ways to contemplate, but there are two that I would like to invite you to try out this next week. The first is to spend time in Adoration. I had the opportunity to do this just last week, and it was incredibly refreshing and beautiful. It was a time for me to simply wait in God’s presence and to wonder about the ways that He is working in my life. It is a quiet refuge from the busyness and hectic ness of the world.
Scriptures – Where has God shown me his Goodness today
The second way to contemplate God is with the Scriptures. This works well for married couples. If you are looking for a gift to take with you from this season of Easter, then take the gift of contemplating God with the Scriptures. Disrupt your nightly routine and make space and time for you and your spouse to sit quietly together, and listen to the scriptures, and reflect – where has God shown me his goodness today?
After we spend time resting in the Lord’s presence, or being touched by His word, take a couple of minutes to consider –
- What do you want me to learn from you today Lord?
- Where did I see you in my life today?
- Who are you sending me to?
Pentecost – The Church in Contemplation – The Symbolism
The first reading today is a good witness to us of this kind of contemplation. When we stared the reading we see that in the Acts of the Apostles that the disciples are gathered with Mary and are contemplating God in their lives. While they are immersed in prayer the Holy Spirit comes to them – and I want you to pay attention to the symbols in the Gospel today.
- -A Strong Driving Wind fills the Whole House!
Strong Wind – How God Directs our Souls
The String Driving wind is that experience of the Love of God. When we take time in contemplation we become aware of God’s presence in our life, he fills us with His Holy Spirit – His Spirit – A Spirit of mission and purpose.
The Whole House – Us and the Church (Us)
The whole house – This is symbolic in two ways – You and I are the whole House that God wishes to fill with His Spirit. Consider the prayer that we pray before receiving the Eucharist – “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter UNDER MY ROOF – But only say the word and my Soul shall be healed!” Brothers and Sisters – Christ is sending us the Holy Spirit today – not just to us but to the entire Church – A Strong and Driving Wind fills the Whole House!
What did the Spirit do?
What did the Holy Spirit do when it filled the Whole House? The disciples – who were hiding in fear went out and proclaimed God’s mighty works. We too are invited to respond to this gift of God.
How do we let the Wind of the Holy Spirit fill us with grace?
Let’s turn to St. Paul and his letter to the Corinthians to learn of a way!
St. Paul says that God gives each of us different gifts to build up His Church. When we spend time in contemplation, one of the things that we ought to touch on often is the question
What Gifts has God Given me?
- Wonder and Awe?
Gifts are given to Serve others – that is the Work of God
St. Paul says that we are to place these gifts at the service of others – so that we might perform works that give Glory to God. God gives us gifts to share in community – so that other can witness the Love of God through us, and that we my experience the love of God through serving others.
- Counsel – Do I use my ability to listen to others patiently to help them to see God’s presence in their lives? Do I by the act of listening show them that God loves them?
- Wonder and Awe – Do I have an awareness of the sheer goodness of God. Am I able to share this amazement with others – to give them hope.
- Organization – Do I help others by inviting them to do the work of God. The Fiesta is coming up next weekend, and we as a parish need to be grateful of those parishioners who have worked hard all year long to prepare the Fiesta for our parish. They are placing their organizational gifts at the service of the parish, and creating a space for all of us to serve God.
Christ comes to gather us into Communion – That is the essence of His Spirit!
This brings us to the powerful message of the Gospel today. Christ comes and visits his Church – that is gathered in Fear. He breaths on them and gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit. With that gift of his Spirit he empowers them with Gifts and witness.
Christ gives us himself – Fellowship with the Father
The first gift that Christ gives is the Spirit of himself – and that is the Spirit of Communion. Christ invites us to be in His Church, and that his Church is in Communion with Him. He invites us to be in Union with His will, and with His Father’s love.
Christ shows us the witness of His Love
Christ comes into the midst of the Church, a Church that is filled with fear and trepidation. He shows them his wounds – his Hands and his side. Jesus does this so that they know – “In the Flesh” that his love has conquered Death and Sin.
Christ sends us on a mission of Forgiveness
Then he sends us on Mission. As the Father has sent me – so I send you! Receive the Holy Spirit
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven…
- Reflect here on the Nature of Forgiveness
Our Mission, Brothers and Sisters is to bring the Communion of Christ to the World by being men and women who
- Know God’s Love (That is why the psalm calls us to contemplation)
- Share God’s Gifts
- Give God’s forgiveness.
This is what it means to Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!