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Homily of Bishop Crean for Pentecost Sunday 31st May

Pentecost Sunday 31st May 2020
St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh,
“When love conquers fear”

“When love conquers fear” is a phrase now associated with the work of Trócaire.  But it is also an apt description of the celebration of Pentecost where the apostles by the love of God in the gift of the Holy Spirit are moved from the fear of this upper room to be powerful witnesses to their life in the Spirit.

My friends,

Pentecost is a day full of vitality and energy.  Pentecost is at once about the possibilities of the presence filling us with hope for the future.

Pentecost celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, to the community of disciples but especially celebrates the gifts of the Spirit in our individual lives.

Depending on our awareness of and openness to life in the Spirit we can go through long periods of our life when we forget to call on these gifts even though we need them so urgently.

The Holy Spirit is the fulfilment of Jesus’ parting promise to send an Advocate to speak for us and to us when so often we neither know what to say or do.

St. Paul’s profound teaching to the people of Corinth speaks to our hearts as we seek to understand our contribution to the greater scheme of life.

There are a variety of gifts he tells us this morning but always the same Spirit.  There are all sorts of service to be done but always the same Lord.

The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose.

My friends, this is an extraordinary and uplifting vision and understanding of our life.  Think on it, nothing good however small, that we do is wasted or lost.  The little things in fact really matter.

These Covid days have disrupted our lives hugely.  The whole experience has stunned the world and stopped us in our tracks.  We now know that it is likely to have an urgent requirement to readjust so many patterns of life we took for granted.  In a sense we now know the world could not go on as it did.  So much of our nature, our humanity was being crushed by the pace, by the speed under the guise of efficiency and success.

In some respects we have been on a path of self-destruction.  So the pause caused by the Pandemic is an unplanned but welcome one for humanity.  More than we realise it has forced many in leadership to recognise that we are more than an economy – we are first a society of
persons, families and communities.  It is little wonder then that people worry about the mental health consequences of these experiences and I have no doubt there are and will be.  But that is to suggest that if we get our head ‘round the issues we will be grand.  That is too shallow an understanding of the wonder of our lives.  This is also at a deeper level about soul and heart.  We are the victims of a spiritual wasteland and desert that has slowly encroached on society at all levels.

That is why to-day’s celebration of Pentecost is a source of great joy for believers and disciples – we are gifted with the goodness and blessing of God in the multiple expressions of the Spirit in the diversity of each other.  The “Spirit well” never runs dry.  It is free and it continually empowers in ways we need but unable to ask

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful
Enkindle in us the fire of your love.
That together we may renew the face of the Earth.

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