Who owns the Spirit?

 

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Pentecost—50 days after Easter.

It would be interesting to hear homilies in our churches on this day.

Was the Spirit absent from the world before Jesus? Hardly. The Holy One has been at work right from the beginning. The life force has been working within all of creation forever. It was this deep intuition, in the scripture it is called “kingdom” or basileia in the language of the New Testament, this felt reality which brought Jesus. He was hardly the first to be so touched. There have been other avatars.  Christians believe of course that his response was the fullest, a breakthrough moment in history. Ernst Troeltsch said this: “Jesus did not bring the kingdom, the kingdom brought Jesus” and it is bringing us—if we are open to its dynamism, creativity, relationality. One needs an evolutionary perspective to come close to understanding this.

We fumble with language, metaphor, ways of expressing this. Biblical words like Advocate and Comforter are not helpful.

So what did we hear in our churches? I don’t know. My hope is that we might first grasp the  Johannine wisdom that “the Spirit blows where it wills.” The Catholic Church has no exclusive claim to this. We all know people of no religion who exhibit Spirit like qualities and committed energy to justice and the common good to cosmic and global sustainability. They are vehicles of the holy energy.The kingdom has come close in these people.

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3 Comments »

  1. 1

    It would be interesting to hear homilies in our churches on this day.

    ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS GO TO MASS AND HEAR SOME.

    Was the Spirit absent from the world before Jesus? Hardly.

    YES AND NO. PENTECOST IS NOT A REALITY IF THERE IS NOTHING NEW AFTERWARDS, THAT IS, NOTHING DIFFERENT THAN WHAT WAS PRESENT BEFORE. GOD IS NEVER ABSENT FROM HIS CREATION, BUT JESUS CAME TO RESTORE “DIVINE FAVOR” TO HUMANITY (DIVINE GRACE). THE PROPHECIES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT CLEARLY INDICATE THAT SOMETHING NEW WILL TAKE PLACE. “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Joel 2, 28.

    THAT CLEARLY POINTS TO SOMETHING THAT WILL HAPPEN, THIS OUTPOURING WILL BE SOMETHING NEW.

    The Holy One has been at work right from the beginning. The life force has been working within all of creation forever.

    THIS IS REALLY A SUBTLE DENIAL OF THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE FAITH. GOD HAS ALWAYS BEEN AT WORK, BUT DIFFERENTLY AT DIFFERENT TIMES. HE REVEALS HIMSELF NATURALLY IN CREATION, BUT HE CHOSE TO REVEAL HIMSELF THROUGH HISTORY IN HIS COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM. THAT’S UNIQUE. AND THEN HE REVEALED HIMSELF IN THE FLESH, AGAIN, SOMETHING UNIQUE AND SUPERNATURAL. THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SOMETHING RADICALLY NEW.

    It was this deep intuition, in the scripture it is called “kingdom” or basileia in the language of the New Testament, this felt reality which brought Jesus.

    HUH? THIS IS MUDDLED.

    He was hardly the first to be so touched.

    TOUCHED? TOUCHED BY WHAT? WE ARE TOUCHED BY HIM. HE CAME TO TOUCH US.

    There have been other avatars.

    OH, BOY! THERE WE HAVE IT! NO, JESUS IS NOT AN AVATAR AMONG AVATARS, NOR THE AVATAR OF AVATARS. HE’S THE WORD MADE FLESH. CLEARLY YOU’VE DEPARTED FROM THE FAITH.

    NAME ME ANOTHER AVATAR!

    Christians believe of course that his response was the fullest,

    THAT’S BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE HE WAS DIVINE: BOTH GOD AND MAN. IF HE WERE NOT, THEN CHRISTIANS ARE CHILDISH TO SAY THAT HIS RESPONSE WAS THE FULLEST: OUR AVATAR WAS BETTER THAN YOUR AVATAR!

    a breakthrough moment in history. Ernst Troeltsch said this: “Jesus did not bring the kingdom, the kingdom brought Jesus”

    YEAH, SO? WHO IS ERNST TROELTSCH? WHAT AUTHORITY DOES HE HAVE? WHY SHOULD I LISTEN TO HIM OVER 2000 YEARS OF CHURCH TEACHING?

    and it is bringing us—if we are open to its dynamism, creativity, relationality.

    WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? DO YOU THINK YOU SOUND PROFOUND? BECAUSE YOU DON’T. YOU SOUND SILLY.

    One needs an evolutionary perspective to come close to understanding this.

    AH! THANKS FOR STEERING ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. YES, GOD IS IN PROCESS! REALITY IS THE EVOLUTION OF PURE CONSCIOUSNESS! SO DEEP, SO SOPHISTICATED, SO RATIONAL.

    We fumble with language, metaphor, ways of expressing this.

    CORRECTION: YOU FUMBLE WITH LANGUAGE. THE DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH WERE VERY CLEAR.

    Biblical words like Advocate and Comforter are not helpful.

    YES, RATHER YOUR FUMBLING TERMINOLOGY IS MUCH MORE HELPFUL. GOLLY, WHY DIDN’T GOD INSPIRE YOU TO WRITE THE SCRIPTURES? I SAY WE HIRE YOU TO TRANSLATE THE BIBLE AND RE-WRITE IT MORE ACCURATELY, FOR US DUMB IDIOTS STUCK IN THE MIDDLE AGES.

    So what did we hear in our churches? I don’t know.

    SO YOU DIDN’T GO TO MASS YESTERDAY? HAVE YOU LOST YOUR FAITH?

    My hope is that we might first grasp the Johannine wisdom that “the Spirit blows where it wills.”

    THE JOHANNINE WISDOM FILTERED THROUGH YOUR EYES, NOT AS INTERPRETED BY THE CHURCH THAT IS 2000 YEARS OLD.

    The Catholic Church has no exclusive claim to this.

    BUT YOU DO?

    We all know people of no religion who exhibit Spirit like qualities and committed energy to justice and the common good to cosmic and global sustainability. They are vehicles of the holy energy.The kingdom has come close in these people.

    HOLY ENERGY. SOUNDS SO NEW AGE. YOU MEAN DIVINE GRACE? OKAY, YES, THAT’S TRUE. YOUR POINT?

  2. 3

    The Holy Father (Pope Francis) recalled the moment where the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, giving them the strength to spread the Gospel.

    “Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, program, and plan our lives,” Pope Francis said. “This is also the case when it comes to God. It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives.”

    We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own. Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, He brings newness—God always brings newness—and demands our complete trust.”

    Drawing from the examples of Noah, Abraham and Moses, Pope Francis said that the “newness” of the Holy Spirit brought the joy, serenity and courage to proclaim the Gospel to the disciples of Christ. However, the Holy Father called on the faithful to ask themselves if they are “open to God’s surprises” or if we are “closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit.”

    “The Holy Spirit,” the 76 year old pontiff said, “would appear to create disorder in the Church, since he brings the diversity of charisms and gifts; yet all this, by his working, is a great source of wealth, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which does not mean uniformity, but which leads everything back to harmony.”

    “In the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony. Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality, and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become a source of conflict, because he impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church.”

    Pope Francis reminded the members from all the various movements and ecclesial realities of the Catholic Church to always remain true to the Church, warning that when one embarks on a “parallel journey” that goes beyond the Church’s teaching, they “are not one with the God of Jesus Christ.”

    Concluding his homily, the Holy Father emphasized the need for the Holy Spirit, comparing to the wind which fills the sails of the soul and drives it forward.
    “The Holy Spirit,” the Pope concluded, “draws us into the mystery of the living God and saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself; He impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the goodness of the Gospel.”


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