Come, Holy Spirit
Old Testament Reading- Ezekiel 36:22-38
New Testament Reading- John 15:26-27
By Henry J. Rafferty CLP -May 23, 2021 Pentecost Sunday
WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES OF A GOOD PARENT? Generally, we expect parents to protect their children and to care for them. We expect them to shelter them, to clothe them, to feed them, and to love them. These are all great things and are all very true, but what happens when the parent is not there? The trait often lost on a parent is to teach their children. I am not talking about geometry or science, but life, we must teach our children how to live.
"The trait often lost on a parent
is to TEACH their children."
Parents should be every child’s first teachers and not only that, but their most important teachers. Parents teach their children how to be polite, how to be kind to others, how to treat others with respect. Parents are the biggest role models in their children’s lives, and often they are teaching their children just by observation. Every child can be bad sometimes, but they learn racism, sexism, homophobia, and hatred from their biggest role models, their parents. The Bible tells us that you can tell the tree by its fruit. Parenting is the hardest, best, most frustrating, yet most enjoyable and responsible thing that I have ever done. My grandmother used to always say that the best time of your life is while you are raising your kids and now, I believe it. It is, in my opinion, the most important thing you will ever do in your life, because it has an effect on so many, because of how you will teach your child to relate to others in the world. Yes, the child will learn good and bad from others, but it is what the parents teach them that really sets the foundation for everything else.
If we never teach our children how to live on their own, how will they ever live without us? How will they learn how to eat for themselves if they never learn how to cook? How will they ever be independent if you never teach them how to wash their own clothes or take care of their finances? Yes, they will have plenty of teachers in their lives, but the parental role is so much more than that. We want our kids to have a healthy, safe, and happy childhood, but we also need to remind ourselves that we also want the same things for their adulthood. At some point, every parent learns that they cannot be there in their children’s lives every second of every day. Good parents learn that they must love enough to let go and let all that they have taught them come into practice. Will they make mistakes? Absolutely, but they will learn from that as well, that is what we call life experience. Life is where your child will start to really come into their own and become the adult that you had always hoped they would become. Don’t we all hear our parents like a little voice inside of us reminding us how to live right? It becomes a part of us, our life lessons.
For three years, Jesus has led His band of followers. He has prayed for them and guided them. He has protected them, fed them, taught them, and loved them. Just like a parent, Jesus gave them everything they needed. He also taught them the difference between wants and needs, that it isn’t always necessary to have everything that we desire and that sometimes what we really need is not even known to us yet. He taught them slowly at first, then as they matured in their faith, He gave them more, but eventually they would have to make it on their own. John 13:33-36 tells us Jesus’ words to His disciples on the night of His betrayal, “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
Thomas then asks the way to where Jesus is going and Jesus replies, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:6-12
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
“Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
“You heard me say, ‘I am going away, and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” John14:15-31
Jesus, like a good parent, loves His children, but He prepares them for a time when He will not be there in person to do all things. Because God genuinely loves us, He sets us free to do what we will on our own, but not completely on our own, He sends His Spirit to help us. Kind of like that little voice that we hear inside of ourselves from our parent’s teachings, but infinitely better. It is not just God’s teachings that He gives to us but His very Spirit, His Holy Spirit to guide and care and love us in this life. This is what we celebrate on the Christian holiday of Pentecost. Forty days after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead He was taken up into Heaven to be seated on the right hand of the Father. Our New Testament lesson for today tells us, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. John 15:26-27 Ten days after Jesus’ ascension, on what we call Pentecost, or literally, ‘fifty’ days after the resurrection, the Holy Spirit fills the disciples and followers of Jesus in Jerusalem in the sight of many people.
Filled with God’s Holy Spirit, the newly commissioned Christians are fully equipped to go forward in the world to do the work of Christ as the Church. Pentecost is also known as the birth of the Church, the body of Christ. Jesus is the head, and we are the body, together we go about the work of God in spreading the Gospel, loving one another, and teaching new disciples as Jesus did. The Church is an integral part of the plan of God for the redemption of humankind. God loves us just that much to give us the freedom to make mistakes, all the while being comforted by His Spirit while we help in service to His glory. It is important to God that His children learn to live and love on their own, and to understand that it is as important to have fellowship together as it is to have fellowship with God. It has been since that first Pentecost, that Christians have been passing on their faith, along with the Sacraments and the Word of God to others and in all things remembering the saving love of Jesus Christ until He comes again in glory. Thanks be to God for His Holy Spirit, for Jesus His Son, and for His Holy Church. Amen.