Pentecost Sunday Reflection
There are three great epochs marked in Sacred Scripture that are heralded by God’s Holy Spirit at work within creation. At the genesis of the history of creation, God breaths the Word that becomes the matrix and blueprint for all Being; bringing order to the primordial chaos.
At the genesis of the mystery of consciousness of our human species, God breathes that same Spirit into our ancestors, generating that self-awareness and free will out of which flows the possibility of Love, imaging God’s very own universal Triune essence.
At the genesis of the assembly of the church, God’s Spirit is once more breathed on the disciples initiating the supernatural spiritual consciousness out of which an experience of God, who is Spirit, Now becomes possible. This awakening of God’s Spirit within us frees us of fear, heals our woundedness, resonates with the transcendent and animates that relationship that teaches us Truth that is Jesus the Christ within God, and God within us and within all of creation. This is the Spirit of Truth that guides our lives, leads us to worship, and brings us joy. This was the experience of the Samaritan woman who becomes both a disciple and Apostle of the Christ, sent to announce the Good News and to call others into this new relationship.
An Illumination of God’s Love Leads to Change Within Me
Why is this great gift of God’s Holy Spirit connected to the forgiveness of sins? As my life becomes more and more centred on this relationship with the Spirit of Truth, I am brought to a profoundly attentive awareness of the one Source of unconditional Love and Light that exposes my selfish egocentric distractions, violence, hypocrisy, guilt, arbitrary power, and that fear of loss that manifests itself as clinging, grasping acquisitiveness.
As soon as I recognise these, my own wounds reflected against God’s Love and Light, I am led to repentance, and acknowledgment of how these sins have affected my relationships, bonding myself in chains as I bind others also to their past mistakes. Thus we are led and called by the Holy Spirit of truth to bring forgiveness and healing to all the members of God’s body in the assembly of the church. This awakening of the divine within leads us to becoming more fully human, living life fully on a foundation of hope, gratitude, empathy, and compassion. Thus the Holy Spirit of Truth leads us as community and family of God to free each other from the attachments of sin that enslave us.
Jesus the resurrected Christ tells all of his followers that through the Holy Spirit we are enabled to bear witness and to set each other free in the joint proclamation of the forgiveness of sins. This Hamartia, this missing the mark, this sin, is secondary to any particular moral code. This sin to which the blessed apostle John refers is an ontological inability to see and respond to that which is real. Without this awakening of Spiritual consciousness, we remain blind, unable or unwilling to hold the truth of God’s manifestation and action in our world. This blindness leads to the retaining of those bonds, those sins that stunt our growth, and perpetuate a circle of woundedness that not only robs us of life and joy but also transmits its disease to all other creation and even to our mother Earth. These wounds that corrupt our actions are as much within our corporate institutions as they are within us.
Connected to the Souce of Creation
God’s Holy Spirit is leading more and more young people today to recognise the connectedness of all creation to that one source. This is our hope for the future as more and more people experience this mystical awakening of connectedness that recognises the gift that each one of us is to the other, recognises their own dignity, the dignity of others, and the dignity of creation. It is this mystical awakening that creates that sacred space within which our diversity can be appreciated so that the values of equity, justice, peace, and reconciliation are becoming a reality beyond our imposed and institutionalised differences.
The youth of today are no longer interested in the excuses, scapegoating and mechanisations of our powerful corporate or religious institutions that seek to separate and manipulate. They see all too clearly the reality of what has resulted in the world around them in which there is a great disconnect between the actions of the elite and powerful, and the struggles and aspirations of the people journeying towards their own full humanity.
Many are now coming to the recognition that there is within themselves both good and bad, light and dark, self-centredness and great generosity as well as violence and peace. This recognition comes with an understanding of the necessity to stand in humility before the other with the eye of compassionate. This is a stance that seeks neither to hide, to judge, to predict or to manipulate. Judgement has a tendency to bring me to shame or a harshness of heart while hiding who I am. My ulterior motives with all the preconceived outcomes present a false countenance to the other; all of which blocks true relationships.
The Spirit of Truth
“The heart of humanity can be full of so much pain, even when things are exteriorly all right. It becomes all the more difficult because today we are used to thinking that there are explanations for everything. But there is no explanation of most of what goes on in our own hearts, and we cannot account for it all. No use resorting to the kind of mental tranquillisers that even religious explanations sometimes offer. Faith must be deeper than that, rooted in the unknown and in the abyss of darkness that is the ground of our being. No use teasing the darkness to try to make answers grow out of it. But if we learn how to have deep inner patience, things solve themselves, or God solves them if you prefer: but do not expect to see how. Just learn to wait, and do what you can and help other people. Often it is in helping someone else we find the best way to bear our own trouble.” — Thomas Merton from his Christmas letter, 1966.
It is the Spirit of Truth that leads us to forgive even the unforgivable and to heal our deepest wounds and divisions. It is the same Spirit of Truth that now leads us towards lives lived simply in service of others without the great triumphalist slogans and banners that separate us from those others and dull our senses to reality. Those others, brothers and sisters are also made in the same image of God and share with me the same experiences of pain and the same experiences joy. This brings us to accept that it is not in “fixing” situations or in “helping” the other in some processes of reconciliation that healing takes place. When Jesus bent down to wash the feet of his disciples, he showed us that service in a relationship between equals draws us into that Love relationship and will heal us as well as others.
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