At times I believe that our Church could use a new Pentecost. Things are not well at all. I’m not quite ready to say that we as a Church are in critical shape, but we sure are in serious need of some help (I might add that the same thing goes for the USA also). I just keep telling myself that Jesus never promised a church that wouldn’t make mistakes; all he promised was that the Church would never make a fatal mistake. When it gets down to the individual level, however, there are a sizeable number of Catholics in very critical shape. In fact, the second largest religious group in the United States is now Catholics who have left the Church.
As I perceive it, the biggest problem is that we have lost our focus on the reality of Jesus Christ today. We’ve lost His vision, His power, His presence, His influence in our lives, His ability to make a difference in our world. We’ve lost sight of the fact that His long-range plan is shalom, peace. We’ve also lost focus on Jesus’ strategy for getting there: forgiveness!
How to achieve that forgiveness? Well, Pentecost often focuses on the gift of tongues, and God knows there’s enough tongues flapping these days. It’s a veritable Babel. But look: Pentecost also focuses on hearing!!! The people to whom the apostles spoke were given the gift of hearing! We have to learn to listen to one another, to different people, people who differ from us, and we have to understand. We have to … we must … or else there is no peace, no forgiveness, and a scary prospect of national and ecclesiastical disintegration.
Come, Holy Spirit, renew the face of our Church and our country. Grant us the gifts of hearing, of community, of hope. Raise up for us people who speak to our dreams and visions instead of our fears.
Let’s pray for each other’s openness to the Spirit, eh?
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.