Saturday, June 11, 2011


We celebrate this power-packed moment in our Church's life every year!  This is the day the Lord has made for us, let us rejoice and be glad!  Easily, perhaps and unfortunately, we often fail to allow ourselves to experience that power, that gift of God to each other.  Today, I believe that we, as a nation, we as citizens of this great country, now more than in recent memory, we need to have the HOLY SPIRIT in our lives.  For all of us it is a matter of life and breath.

The words of Ezekiel about those "dry bones" remind me of the millions of broken dreams and shattered lives and families that exist from the far northeastern corner to the far southwestern corner of this great nation.  Our nation, our families and/or our friends have been delivered a financial death that seems to continue dying anew every day, work or month.  So many seemingly languish without any hope.  This Pentecost reminds me that as a people and as individuals we need to recognize the power, the healing remedy God has given us in the Holy Spirit.  Again, it is a matter of life and breath.

Many remember World War II.  Some may have served in the armed forces at that time.  Prison camps and other atrocities were spread from Germany to other European countries ... even to the Philippines in Asia.  A victim of prison during that war was an Austrian psychiatrist, Dr. Victor Frankl.  He wrote a book following his release from the prison camp:  Man's Search for Meaning.  Many prisoners who survived the painful experiences were doomed because they lost their belief in the future.  It was this loss of hope that undermined their spiritual hold on life itself.  There is not doubt that today's life experiences among many whose lives have been shattered by the national financial disaster have turned many into  those "dry bones" that Ezekiel described in his Old Testament writing.  Today we need to revisit with the Holy Spirit!  For us it is a matter of life and breath.

Almost 100 years ago a 38 year old man had to put a sign in the front window of his shop that read "CLOSED - CANNOT REOPEN!  That was the front wave of the Great Depression.  However, because his wife sat and worked out a life plan with him they were able to make a real plan for their future.  23 years later this man was introduced to the world as President of the United States.  President Harry S. Truman was the man.  Through wife Bess's strength Harry Truman experienced the life and breath of the Holy Spirit.

Each day Harry Truman would read a particular verse from the writings of the prophet Jeremiah:  chapter 29, verse 11.  The prophet's words conveyed to the Jewish people in the Babylonian Captivity the words Yahweh wanted them to hear:  "For I know well the plan I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your good, not for disaster, plans to give you a future full of hope."  These words are good for many of us today.

Today's feast stands before all as a reminder that the Holy Spirit is not dead!  Far from that:  The Holy Spirit is very much alive IF we allow his presence to invigorate our lives, as well as the lives of families and communities.  It is so easy to join the choirs of those who can only sing hymns of woe and despair.  There is no life in that crowd!  They are only new piles of "dry bones" that will not yield to revitalization and new life.  Today God wants you to come alive with the Holy Spirit. There is a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that comes to mind:  "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

My reader friends during this Holy Spirit weekend of Pentecost I ask you to take on the intention to make it your mission, your business, to let the Holy Spirit loose in your life.  Bring him to your families and your friends.  Pray to the Holy Spirit to fill your life with his gifts so that you can be the life and breath of the Holy Spirit to transform your life and the lives of your families and communities.  God is renewing this gift in your lives this weekend for that reason.  And yes, it may be frightening.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Mother Teresa, expressed her own fears when she realized what power the Holy Spirit had given her to change not just her life but the world for the poor and the dying.  Letting the Holy Spirit take over will  change your life.  Blessed Teresa wrote these powerful words:  "I know God will never give me anything I can't handle.  I just wish He didn't trust me with so much."

My friends I am offering you the chance of a lifetime today:  the gifts of the Holy Spirit if you just open your heart and mind to him.  Go for it!