Homily for June 4, 2017: Pentecost Sunday

Gospel John 20: 19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

Ebanjelioa Joan 20: 19-23

19 Asteko lehen egun hartan bertan, arratsean, ikasleak etxe batean bildurik zeuden; judu-agintarien beldurrez, ateak itxirik zeuzkaten. Sartu zen Jesus eta, erdian jarririk, agurtu zituen esanez: «Bakea zuei». 20 Gero, eskuak eta saihetsa erakutsi zizkien. Pozez bete ziren ikasleak Jauna ikustean. 21 Jesusek berriro esan zien: «Bakea zuei. Aitak ni bidali nauen bezala, nik zuek bidaltzen zaituztet». 22 Eta haien gainera arnasa botaz, esan zien: «Hartzazue Espiritu Santua. 23 Zuek bekatuak barkatzen dizkiezuenei barkatu egingo dizkie Jainkoak ere; zuek barkamena ukatzen diezuenei, ukatu egingo die».

Experiencing God from Within

A few years ago, the great German theologian Karl Rahner dared to assert that one of the main and most urgent problems of the Church of our times is the “spiritual mediocrity” of the faithful. These were his words: The real problem of the Church is “just to continue pulling with increasing resignation and inertia and with ever more tedium through the usual paths of spiritual mediocrity.” More of the same.

The problem has only aggravated in these last decades. Efforts to strengthen institutions, safeguard the liturgy or guard orthodoxy have served little. In the hearts of many Christians, the inner experience of God is being extinguished.

Modern society has opted for that which is in “the outside.” Everything invites us to live from the outside. Everything presses us to move in haste, barely stopping at anything or anyone. Peace no longer finds any chinks to penetrate into our heart. We live almost always in the crust of life. Superficiality. We are forgetting what it means to savor life from within. To be fully human, our life lacks an essential dimension: namely, interiority. 

It is sad to observe that neither in many of our Christian communities do we know how to care for and promote inner life. Many do not know what the silence of the heart means. We no longer teach to live the faith from within. Deprived of inner experience, we survive forgetting our inner soul. Yes, we do listen to the Word of God with our ears and, yes, we do utter fervent prayers with our lips — but our hearts are absent, not connected with the inner experience of the encounter with the Lord.

In the Church there is much talk about God, but where and when do we believers listen and experience the quiet presence of God in the depths of our hearts? Where and when do we welcome the Spirit of the Risen One within us? When do we live in communion with the Mystery of God from within? When do we agree in our everyday lives with the great dream of Jesus about the Kingdom of God? 

To welcome the Spirit of God means, among other things, to stop talking with a God whom we almost always feel far away from us, and to learn to listen to Him in the silence of the heart. To stop thinking about God only with our heads, and to learn to perceive Him in the most intimate of our being as we gaze at the poorest of the poor around us.

This inner and concrete experience of God will transform our faith. I am amazed about how I myself was able to live my life about without discovering Him before! Now I know why it is still possible to believe in God even in a secularized culture. Experiencing God gives inner joy. The Holy Spirit takes us all today to this inner experience of God.

 

Fr. Antonio's Blog

Reflections from Padre Antonio Egiguren, Vicar at the Cathedral of St. John's the Evangelist.


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