Gospel Reflection for the Feast of Pentecost Year C – May 16th 2016
On the last day and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood there and cried out:
‘If any man is thirsty, let him come to me!
Let the man come and drink who believes in me!’
As scripture says: From his breast shall flow fountains of living water. He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive; for there was no Spirit as yet because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
DAY OF PENTECOST
Jesus said to his disciples
‘If you love me you will keep my commandments.
I shall ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you for ever,
‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him and make our home with him.
Those who do not love me do not keep my words.
And my word is not my own:
it is the word of the one who sent me.
‘I have said these things to you
while still with you;
but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all I have said to you.’
John 14:15-16, 23-26
At our confirmation we were anointed with oil. Oil was often a sign in the scripture of giving healing and strength. We know the uses of oil in ordinary life, protecting our body from the sun, making machinery run smoothly.
Oil also seals flavour and food’s goodness into food… In confirmation we are sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They are enclosed within us – to flow out, to help our Christian life flow.
‘BE SEALED WITH THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT’
We are told: ‘Be sealed with the gift of the holy Spirit’ and spread the gospel. The gifts are the normal human gifts we like – such as kindness, goodness, generosity, mercy; the Spirit is the spirit of God reaching our human spirit. Too often the gospel was seen as against being human. The Spirit encourages everything that is good within us.
Oil also heals and brings comfort. We need that. Bereavement, illness, hurts of life. Prayer brings us in touch with the comfort of God in the Spirit. We have a hurt and wounded world. Hurt with poverty, hunger, unemployment. People letting each other down in abusive and situations of greed. We need the comfort of hope, which makes us strong; and the commitment of action which changes our world. Oil was used in ordination or coronation of monarchs to anoint them for their mission.
Alone we can do little; together we can grow strong; with each other and with the Spirit of God we can live in joy, justice, mercy and peace together.
The oil that seals the gifts of God in us then flows out and we are people of God’s Holy Spirit in our world.
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger