Pentecost 2024

Celebrating the gift of the Holy Spirit

Saturday 18 May 2024

Here we are on the eve of Pentecost. We are going to celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. Tonight we have heard the words of Jesus in the Gospel of St John where he invites everyone who is thirsty to come to him and those who put their trust in him to drink.

We are all thirsty for something. Perhaps we are not really thirsty for God. Perhaps our thirst is for success, friendship or acceptance. But if we are honest with our small desires, they will lead us to Jesus.

We have to go upstream to get to the source. This does not mean suppressing our desires. On the contrary, our faith liberates our desires and thirsts by revealing their true purpose.

So let our thirsts lead us to Jesus and drink from his source. By drinking from this source, do we not enter into a kind of expectation of what he will give us?

This is where we join the disciples of Jesus, his friends, who, after he rose from death, gathered to pray in Jerusalem with Mary and probably others, waiting for the power of the Holy Spirit that he had promised them and that would enable them to bear witness to his love.

Tomorrow we will read the account in the Acts of the Apostles where Jesus’ promise is fulfilled. It was the day of one of the great feasts and suddenly Jesus’ friends heard what sounded like a violent wind. Then flames like tongues of fire descended on each of them. They began to speak in different tongues.

Peter, full of courage, stands up and tells them about Jesus. They understand that they are welcomed, loved by God, and that there is a place for them in a community together with others who are seeking God.

Jesus’ promise was being fulfilled. Peter has become a witness through the gift of the Holy Spirit. The other friends of Jesus will join him in this witness.

You will be leaving Taizé soon. How will you continue to gather with others who are seeking God, as you have done this week, to wait for God and to listen to the promises of Jesus?

Are we prepared to take the risk of abandoning ourselves, of listening and of learning what the Spirit is saying to us today? To be disturbed, shaken and challenged? What if God were to create something completely new in our communities?

How can we talk about Jesus in a language that others understand? The gift of the Holy Spirit urges us to meet people where they are at, to listen to them first.

Only then can we learn their language. And it is only then that we can communicate what we have understood about Jesus, first and foremost through our lives.

In this way, becoming a witness to Jesus, to his love, becomes possible for all of us.

I’ve just returned from Ukraine. With two other brothers, we visited the towns of Lviv, Ternopil, Zhitomir and Kyiv, and other places as well.

We went there with no plan other than to listen to the people, to pray with them and to offer a sign of solidarity, to tell them that we have not forgotten them.

In each meeting we met people full of courage who love their country and are ready to give everything to remain free.

Even if in many places life seems normal, like in other European countries, anxiety is never far away and is increasing even after two years of war. A war that is still going on.

The warning sirens go off regularly, there are power cuts and when you go to the cemeteries, you can’t help but notice the new graves that have been laid to welcome the often very young soldiers.

For many, their faith is a great support, enabling them to hold on to their hope and help those in need. People greeted us with the Easter greeting: "Christ is risen! And we would reply, "He is risen indeed!

Then the smile came back on people’s faces, and even if it’s not always easy to believe in the Resurrection, we understood the power of that greeting. Suffering will never have the last word.

May I ask you not to forget the Ukrainian people, to pray for them so that peace, justice and freedom may reign in their country? In this way, like us, you will become pilgrims of peace and support those whose future is threatened by war.

Printed from: - 16 July 2024
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