Thank God for Pentecost
It is hard to think of an analogy that would depict what the Christian life woulld be like without the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the closest analogy would be to picture the chaos and impotency that would come if language, verbal and non-verbal, was suddenly to cease existing. One can only begin to imagine the sense of hopelessness we would experience not being able to communicate with even one other person. The powerlessness would be overwhelming. We would be unable to accomplish much of anything. There would be no information systems, no books, and no written instructions on how to do things. The sense of isolation and dislocation would be unbearable. Love, appreciation, and belonging would not be able to be expressed or received. Needs would not be able to be communicated nor could help be provided. Communication, one of the essential elements that make us distinctively human, when removed, would change life beyond recognition or description.
Pentecost Sunday celebrates the Father and Son's gift to us of the Holy Spirit. Similar to the above example, the Holy Spirit is the essential ingredient that makes us distinctively Christian, the absence of which would change our life beyond recognition or description. To appreciate the Holy Spirit's presence we want to think for a minute of what life would be like without him, if history was suddenly turned back, and the Holy Spirit was removed. How would our Christian life be different? There would be . . .
• No belonging—"But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him." (Romans 8:9)
• No assurance—"In him you...were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it." (Ephesians 1:13,14)
• No revelation (New Testament Scripture)—"The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (John 14:26)
• No illumination—"So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God." (1 Corinthians 2:10-13)
• No power in prayer—"... we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words... the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:26,27)
• No power to witness—"... you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses." (Acts 1:8)
• No unity—"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body..." (1 Corinthians 12:13) "... maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit..." (Ephesians 4:3-4)
These are just a few of the things made possible to us by the Holy Spirit's presence. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit was given to us, Jesus' Body, and his presence will remain with us until Jesus returns. How can we more fully express our appreciation for the Holy Spirit? By opening our heart and life anew to his indwelling presence.
"In our day too, the Spirit is the principal agent of the new evangelization. Hence it will be important to gain a renewed appreciation of the Spirit as the One who builds the Kingdom of God within the course of history and prepares its full manifestation in Jesus Christ, stirring people's hearts and quickening in our world the seeds of full salvation which will come at the end of time." (On the Coming of the Third Millennium, by Pope John Paul II)–