Don’t let the flame burn out just because Easter is over

| Deacon Jake Anderson | June 5, 2014 | 0 Comments

candle_web2Does this sound familiar: After 40 days of Lent, which were filled with a few fish fries, possibly a Lenten talk or two and a grace-filled confession, we found ourselves somewhat exhausted at the end of Holy Week. Easter Sunday had us rejoicing and relieved that Lent was over. After the packed 10 a.m. Easter Sunday Mass, we pushed our way into our favorite restaurant for the ever-traditional Easter brunch with family and friends. Then suddenly, while picking up the remains of the afternoon Easter egg hunt in the backyard, it hits us — we ask ourselves: “Is this it? Did I go through all that work just to find myself picking up Easter eggshells?”

It is an experience not unlike the post-Christmas cleanup in which we say to ourselves: “Christ is born! And now, it’s back to business as usual.” It is a deflating experience because we lack a sense of renewal and mission.

Stop right there

It can certainly seem like the event of the Resurrection is the “end of a season.” But Jesus explicitly says: “It is better for you that I am going away” (John 16:7). What does he mean? He means Pentecost! The Holy Spirit is coming! Not a mere dove, but a “driving wind,” and “fire!” (Acts 2:2). In other words: power. Here’s the thing, though — it can be in the midst of the monotony of “eggshell-like moments” that Jesus desires to give us the Holy Spirit. In fact, it is often when we least expect it that the Spirit moves. Far from being limited only to the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, the Spirit desires to renew and transform us, here and now, 24/7.

An invitation to renewal and mission

St. Paul exhorts us: “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit” (1 Corinthians 12:7). This means that you and I are called to mission. Not necessarily a mission to travel to hidden villages in Africa, because we can live anew in the Spirit right here and now.

Furthermore, it is no coincidence that Jesus says: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). When we are filled with and sent by the Holy Spirit, life takes on new meaning, and our hearts are aflame for mission. What might he be calling you to do in the Spirit?

While the apostles were entrusted with the forgiveness of sins (John 20:23), you might be called to be an ambassador of healing between your siblings. The apostles were called to witness “the mighty acts of God” (Acts 2:11); you, too, are called to witness the life of the Spirit by your actions.

I invite you to sincerely pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This might mean more than whispering a faint “prayer” before falling asleep; it might necessitate you praying on your knees . . . in earnest.

It might mean being intentional about turning off the TV and giving your complete attention to God, saying: “Lord, I want your Spirit — I need your Spirit. Without you, I fall apart. Send your living flame into my heart.” The goal is to be completely receptive to the power of the Spirit, who renews us and enflames our hearts for mission.

Deacon Anderson is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His teaching parish is Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in St. Paul. His home parish is the Cathedral of St. Paul.


Readings

Sunday, June 8
Pentecost Sunday

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

Reflection

How might you be called to Christian mission through the Holy Spirit?

 

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Category: Sunday Scriptures