Pentecost 2010

I have not yet completed my personal Pentecost story. In any event, I decided to instead share what I wrote for my parish blog today. 

“I’ve always found beautiful about the sacrament of the bread is the way one has to stop talking in order to communicate.” – Garret Keizer

I found that quote in an article that is not only completely unrelated to Pentecost,  and it written by an Episcopalian, it actually might be an article found abhorrent by many. With that disclosure made – along with the thought that things are not always what they seem, I carry on.

It is Pentecost and we celebrate the gift of the Spirit as promised by Jesus at Ascension and as was hinted to all along during the 40 days that followed Easter.

Another favorite Pentecost quote of mine is one I heard at a homily for Pentecost in 1991 or 1992. “Easter makes me unafraid to die; Pentecost makes me unafraid to live.”  That pretty much sums it up!

In any case, today I wanted to write about the gifts of the Spirit and about how we find the real unity of the Pentecost and then I went to mass at 4pm on Saturday and my line of thought changed.

We have had a series of First Eucharists at St. Edward’s these two weekends.  It was quite wonderful to finally see First Eucharist incorporated into our regular liturgy schedule in my opinion. There are those who might say that the kids should have their own special mass. There are many, and I do understand this, who might say that they don’t want mass made any longer, louder or more complicated with the addition of this sacrament.

Well – who said that mass, church or anything about faith should be anything even remotely related to one’s own personal comfort or preference? Not wanting to sound harsh, but just saying. I mean we all get put out, but that’s not the point, is it?

Which brings me to wanting to try and say something comprehensible about Pentecost, First Eucharist, and unity.

Which is what good eucharistic theology is all about.

If you go to St. Edward’s and if you have been paying attention, you have to have heard Father Pat say this countless times… Why do you come to the table? Do you come here to get something? Or do you come here to give something and then ultimately be part of something?

Most of us were taught the former one, but it is so much about the latter two.

On Saturday, at the Pentecost vigil, Fr. Pat pointed out that even in the old Latin – yes he was there with his very own St. Joseph’s Daily Missal from when he was a little kid growing up in Troy – it is about what you bring as you offer yourself!

Yes, of course Jesus offered his life for all. (Yes, I am aware that is about to revert to many. Another post, another day as we begin to consider the implications of the new translation and liturgy that will begin in December 2011.)  However, good eucharistic theology – good theology period – is about something dynamic, not something linear.

The very relationship of ongoing movement, which I hope to explore next Sunday for Trinity Sunday, is at the heart of this.

Jesus offered his life for the world and gave us his Body and Blood. When we “eat this bread and we drink this blood” we do so much more than commemorate that death and rebirth.

We become what we eat. It is hard to ponder.

So what does this have to do with Pentecost? It is in this very becoming of Eucharist, I believe, that the moment of Spirit that brings us into the mutuality, unity and understanding that Pentecost brings the world.

And I purposefully say that Pentecost brings and not brought because it is ongoing and very dynamic.

We see this every time we come to the table at mass. Or at least we have the chance to see it that way if we chose to enter into it that way.

This is why it is, again to paraphrase Fr. Pat, so easy and attractive to want to follow Jesus. And it is exactly why it is so hard to actually do so. However, as he also says, we keep coming back, all of us, week after week – trying.

And that is what we do. And that is a good thing.

So, the world of individualism, personal preference, comfort and convenience must be reconsidered in the world of Jesus, the world of good eucharistic theology, the world of Pentecost. It is the world of, again quoting Fr. Pat – common union.  To which I will spell out – common union with God through common union with each other.

Community comes with great cost and if we proceed, comes also with great and endless gift.

What an awful lot of words for someone who quoted this at the beginning:

“I’ve always found beautiful about the sacrament of the bread is the way one has to stop talking in order to communicate.” – Garret Keizer

Time to stop talking and to start communicating.


3 thoughts on “Pentecost 2010

  1. Greetings Phil! How lovely to receive your comment. Thank you so!I have been reading you through my reader, not really commenting. These weeks have had me elsewhere. Blessings of the spirit to you!


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