pentecost mosaic

The Spirit intercedes

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Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. – Romans 8:26

On this glorious feast day, we rightly tend to focus on the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples at Pentecost. We recall the tongues of fire and the speaking in many langugages. It’s spectacular stuff. We contemplate the ways in which the Spirit’s presence kindled the nascent church into impressive growth.

Of course, the gift of the Holy Spirit isn’t something that happened once and is done. Rather, the Spirit continues to empower the church as Jesus promised. So, if I may, I’d like to think about what Pentecost means for us in today’s church.

Paul gets right to it, as he so often does, in his letter to the Romans. Simply put, the Spirit intervenes to work in our lives to animate our faith. Even when we cannot find the words, the Spirit guides our prayer. What good news!

The Spirit’s indwelling in us is very much connected to our celebration of Easter.

But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. – Romans 8:10-11

Remember at the beginning of our fifty-day journey, when I wrote that the empty tomb means that death and sin are utterly defeated by life and love? That’s not just an abstraction, but something that becomes real in our very lives. Yours and mine.

It all comes back to the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And when we cannot see the way or even find the words to ask God for help, the Spirit intercedes for us. Ending our Easter season with the Day of Pentecost reminds us that we are never alone.

Today marks the end of the Easter season, though this day is but a small marker on our earthly pilgrimage. The baptismal liturgy commends us to grow into the full stature of Christ. Another way to express that journey is that we should be people of the Paschal Mystery – people who seek to celebrate and be formed by the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Let us continue on our pilgrim way. If we can grasp – by the power of the Spirit – the love of our Father and the grace of Jesus Christ, every day will be marked by Easter joy.

Thank you for going on this 50 Day journey with me this year. I have enjoyed writing these reflections, and I hope they have been helpful for you. Happy Easter, everyone.

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Photo of a Pentecost mosaic via Wikimedia Commons.

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