In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2015/05/22 at 12:00 AM


“Come, Holy Spirit. Let the precious pearl of the Father and the Word’s delight come. Spirit of truth, you are the reward of the saints, the comforter of souls, light in the darkness, riches to the poor, treasure to lovers, food for the hungry, comfort to those who are wandering; … you are the one in whom all treasures are contained.
Come! As you descended upon Mary, that the Word might become flesh, work in us through grace as you worked in her through nature and grace.
Come! Food of every chaste thought, fountain of all mercy, sum of all purity. Come! Consume in us whatever prevents us from being consumed in you.”
These words were penned by St. Mary Magadalene de Pazzi, a Carmelite nun and mystic from Florence, Italy, who died in 1607. This past Friday, May 25th, was her feast day.
As we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, these words of hers are so very appropriate, for this feast not only celebrates the Holy Spirit, but is itself an invitation to the Holy Spirit to fall upon the Church once again as He did upon our Lady and the apostles 50 days after our Blessed Lord’s resurrection.
As we gather today, we should not only celebrate Who the Holy Spirit is and what He does for us and for the Church, but we should beg Him to come to us again as He did at our Confirmation, to renew us and sanctify us.
Last week I spoke briefly about art and how it helps make the invisible realities of our faith visible. Art keeps the mysteries of our Faith before our eyes so that we may ponder them in our hearts.
Perhaps there is no greater invisible reality than the Holy Spirit Himself! He is not perceptible to our physical senses, but we know that He is always with us, inspiring us and guiding us along the path of salvation.
Incidentally, it is a common feature of Catholic churches to have a dove representing the Holy Spirit above the altar – as we do here – to remind us not only of His presence, but of His action at Mass, for His work in the liturgy is His most important work of all.
Sacred Scripture speaks repeatedly of the Holy Spirit to describe His actions. Through the prophet Ezekiel the Lord tells us that He will put His Spirit in us so that we may live.
Although dead in sin like dry bones scattered in a desert, through the power of the Spirit the Lord gives us true life, for it is the Holy Spirit who makes us holy.
St. Paul tells us that the Spirit is given to each individual, enabling us to call upon Jesus as Lord. Indeed, the Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness, interceding for us according to God’s will.
The Gospel of John teaches us that the Holy Spirit causes grace to well up within us like flowing water, for He is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, and who will guide us into all truth. And nowhere is the more evident than at the Mass!
While at the Mass, we – the Church, the Body of Christ – gather to receive the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, this can only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that in the liturgy: “…the Holy Spirit acts in the same way as at other times in … salvation [history]: he prepares the Church to encounter her Lord; he recalls and makes Christ manifest to the faith of the assembly.
By his transforming power, he makes the mystery of Christ present here and now. Finally the Spirit of communion unites the Church to the life and mission of Christ” (#1092).
It is the Holy Spirit who awakens faith within us, converts hearts, and gives us the desire to adhere to the Father’s will.
These three dispositions are necessary both for the reception of other graces we receive in the Mass and for the graces of the Mass to bear fruit within us afterwards (cf. CCC #1098).
And so it is that the Holy Spirit is the great Sanctifier. It is He who makes us holy through the graces of the Mass. But even more than that, it is the Holy Spirit who makes the mystery of Christ present in the Mass.
You see, the Mass “not only recalls the events that saved us but actualizes them, makes them present. The Paschal mystery of Christ is celebrated [at Mass], not repeated.
It is the celebrations that are repeated, and in each celebration of the Mass there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that makes the Paschal mystery present” (cf. CCC #1104).
There is an element of the Eucharistic Prayer that we call the epiclesis, which is the point at which the priest calls upon the Holy Spirit to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.
You’ll know that it’s happening when you see the priest extend his hands over the gifts and bells are rung.
But we not only pray that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, we also pray that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we ourselves might become a living offering to God (cf. CCC #1105).
So, in essence, the work of the Holy Spirit in the Mass is to prepare us to encounter Christ; to recall and manifest Christ to us; to make the saving work of Christ present and active by his transforming power; and to make the gift of communion bear fruit within us (cf. CCC #1112).
So just as the Holy Spirit transforms the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, He also transforms us into living images of Christ!
Through the power of the Holy Spirit cowards become courageous, the impious become pious, fools become wise, and the faithless become faithful.
He is indeed the reward of the saints, the comforter of souls, light in the darkness, riches to the poor, treasure to lovers, food for the hungry, comfort to those who are wandering; He is the one in whom all treasures are contained.
As we gather to witness His power making present the wondrous mysteries of our redemption once again in the Mass, let us ask ourselves what it is that we are lacking…what it is that prevents us from being holy, from being consumed by Him.
And as we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, which His power has made present for us, let us invite the Holy Spirit to enter into us once again and supply for whatever defects of virtue that we might have so that we may truly become more like the One whose Body and Blood we are receiving.
© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

You can go directly to his homilies:

27 May 2012


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