June 4, 2017

I.  New Parish Pastoral Council Members: there is no better day in the whole liturgical year then Pentecost Sunday to announce the new servant leaders for our parish: Peggy Bellew, LaWanna Brand, Brenda Clark, Mark Heinz, David Hemingway, Samantha Kai, Kelsey Rhodes, Steven Roby, Pat Serey, Russell Vaughn, Nick Warren, and Kathryn Wimsatt. Thanks to the 42 parishioners who were nominated, and thanks to those who have been “tapped on the shoulder” by the Holy Spirit to serve our faith community for the next three years beginning July 1, 2017.

II.  The Sequence for the Solemnity of Pentecost is sometimes called the “golden sequence”.  Poetic in nature, it is usually attributed to 13th century Pope Innocent III or Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Read it. Ponder it. Reflect upon it these days of Pentecost.

Holy Spirit, Lord of Light,
From the clear celestial height.
Thy pure beaming radiance give light.

Come, thou Father of the poor,
Come, with treasures which endure;
Come, thou Light of all that live!

Thou, of all consolers best,
Thou, the soul’s delightful guest,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.

Thou in toil art comfort sweet,

Pleasant coolness in the heat;

Solace in the midst of woe.

Light immortal, Light divine,
Visit thou these hearts of thine,
And our inmost being fill.

If thou take thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All his good is turned to ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour thy dew,
Wash the stains of guilt away.

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

Thou, on us who evermore
Thee confess and thee adore,
With thy sevenfold gifts descend.

Give us comfort when we die;
Give us life with thee on high;
Give us joys that never end.
Amen. Alleluia.

III. Open to the Spirit or Not?  Fear can have power over us and keep us from attempting any change at all in our lives; afraid to “let go” of what we know and have adapted to, for what was untried and Unknown. The disciples behind locked doors were gathered in fear.  But Jesus’ gift of the Spirit freed them to unlock their lives, and take their faith in the risen Lord into the world with courage.

IV. Whatever Happened to the Holy Ghost?  Some of us are old enough to remember when the Trinity was the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. When the new liturgical and biblical texts were translated after the second Vatican Council, many Catholics were shocked to discover that the Holy Ghost had become the Holy Spirit. Why the change?

To our ears, the word “ghost” conjures up images of graveyards and Halloween. Although this understanding reflects the nature of God, that is–He has no physical being or body–it fails to capture a more descriptive quality that is found in the languages of the Bible. The word for “wind” or “breath” is ruah in Hebrew and pneuma in the Greek. The Bible uses these terms to describe the activity of God in history.  It is the “wind” or “breath” of God that sweeps over the waters at creation (Genesis 1:2), gives direction to the prophets (Micah 3:8), and descends upon Jesus at his Baptism (Mark 1:10).

With the resurrection of Jesus, the Church came to see that this activity was the work of a distinct person of the Holy Trinity. This person was identified by the word for “wind” or “breath,” which in Latin was spiritus. Our English spirit comes from this root and can still be recognized in its original sense in such words as “respiration,” or “inspiration.”

Therefore, the decision to refer to the third person of the Trinity as “the Holy Spirit,” rather than as “the Holy Ghost” is not an arbitrary change. “Spirit” more closely reflects the biblical imagery, which actually describes the action of God as a wind or breath in our history.