Gospel Reflection for Sunday May 31st 2020
The Missionary Church is born
It is often said that William Shakespeare has a line or quotation to suit every situation or occasion. In Macbeth, there is a wonderful phrase uttered by one the witches in the play; ‘Something wicked this way comes.’ How true.
Given what we have gone through over the last few months and are still experiencing in many parts of our world, something wicked has come our way! Although ‘wicked’ seems tame to describe the tragedy that has swept over us because of the Coronavirus. As people of faith, let us not lose hope, all is not lost.
We can balance the quotation from Shakespeare with a more powerful and uplifting one from Gerard Manley Hopkins, Jesuit priest and poet who died in 1889. In his poem, ‘God’s Grandeur,’ he wrote, ‘The world is charged with the splendour of God.’ I think this describes today, Pentecost Sunday very well. Today we mark the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the whole church and upon all of us who call ourselves disciples and followers of the Risen Lord.
After they had seen Jesus die and be buried, all his closest friends deserted and abandoned him. They hid in fear. When he did appear to them, most if not all of them doubted, not just poor Thomas! They weren’t strong, faithful or courageous. They lost heart and hope. They had given up on Jesus, but he did not give up on them. He promised them the gift of the Holy Spirit. Through this life-giving gift, they are refreshed, restored and renewed. They are charged with the grandeur of God. Their sadness is turned to joy and their fear is transformed in to strength. They are given new hope, new heart and a new purpose. They become new people with new courage and conviction. They leave the room in which they were hiding and go to boldly without fear to proclaim the Good News that Jesus is Risen. They are a new people with a new message and mission. The missionary church is born.
Are we so different from these first followers of Jesus? There are times in our lives when are afraid, anxious and overcome with doubt. Perhaps over these last few months as we have self -isolated and kept to social distancing, we have wondered if this ever going to end. As we heard so much sad and painful news each evening, perhaps we have been overcome with sadness and even a sense of powerlessness. Is this what the friends, family and followers of Jesus experienced when and after he died?
It was into their real lived reality of fear and sadness that Jesus that came and poured into them the life-changing power of his Resurrection through the Holy Spirit. They didn’t change themselves – they were transformed by Jesus. They didn’t rely just on their own power, but on the power that came from the Holy Spirit.
These have been very difficult months for us locally, nationally and globally, but through the gift of the same Spirit that the followers of Jesus experienced, we will get through this. We will be different, but we will emerge from this stronger because the Spirit of the Risen Lord is with us to renew, restore and refresh us. We are not alone. Not only is the world charged with the splendour of God, so are you and I.
– Br Michael Moore OMI
|Gospel for Sunday May 31st : Pentecost Sunday||John 20:19-23 ©|
As the Father sent me, so am I sending you: receive the Holy Spirit
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