Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook

Scripture Reflections

Pentecost Sunday – May 19

Acts 2:1-11
1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
John 20:19-23

By Msgr. Robert H. Aucoin

In getting a sudden burst of energy, we call it a “second wind.” In hearing about something, you “get wind of it.” In taking drastic action in life, you “throw caution to the wind.” Being called a “bag of wind” definitely does not count as a compliment. Come to church and we hear about a group of men sitting around worried about what will happen and “Suddenly from up in the sky there came a sound like a strong driving wind.”

Wind can fascinate us. We cannot see wind. We can only see the effects of wind: the blowing curtains in the house, the trees bouncing in the air, the rough seas in a storm, and some people, not me, have their hair blown in the wind. We don’t see the wind; we just experience the effects of the wind.

If we want to understand the Holy Spirit, we only need to think about the wind. Just as we don’t see the wind, but only the effects of the wind, so too we don’t see the Holy Spirit, just the effects of the Holy Spirit. Also, just as we can keep out the wind by closing the windows, battening down the hatches, and wearing a kerchief or hat, so, too, we can keep out the Holy Spirit by refusing to cooperate.

We have received the Holy Spirit, God dwelling in us. This Holy Spirit came at baptism and was reinforced in confirmation. In fact, in receiving the Holy Spirit, we received gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, piety, fortitude, and fear of the Lord. Each of those gifts is like a burst of wind to guide us as we live the routine of everyday living. Just because we don’t see big bursts of divine energy as did those early apostles, it doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit is any less alive.

After all, to see the effects of these gifts, we have to look to people. Blowing curtains tell us that there is a wind. People living according to the Spirit tell reflects the Spirit alive and well.

Most of us live pretty ordinary lives. Sure, on occasions there are dragons to slay, holy grails to search. Moses had no map as he led the people through the desert. We often make false starts and wrong turns. But through all of that we need to look at those gifts and the Holy Spirit, our God, who is more often than not a gentle breeze looking to guide us along the way.

Have you ever had a conversion experience? Most of us have at one time or another. A conversion experience is a moment in our lives when we think that we need to be doing something different. It does not mean that what we have been doing is bad, but rather that we need to move from where we are to somewhere else. I’m in college, but now I have to do something different. I am at this job, but it’s time for me to advance in my career. I have been away from God, but now it’s time to start paying attention to his all-embracing love.

Conversion can take place in a few moments. Transformation can take much longer. Conversion is enjoyable because we see something better on the horizon. Transformation challenges us because it often means taking on new behaviors, changing lifestyle, moving beyond our comfort zone. In biblical terms, Pentecost Sunday, was a conversion experience for the apostles. The rest of the Acts of the Apostles describes their transformation and the transformation of the early Church. The day of marriage is a conversion experience for the bride and groom. The rest of their lives are spent in transforming themselves into husband and wife.

We need the Holy Spirit, we need his gifts, we need his love both to convert and to transform ourselves. Without the Holy Spirit we are left to ourselves, and that can be scary. With the Holy Spirit our lives have focus and direction. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.