I’m looking forward to Pentecost.
One morning after Mass this week I was looking at the Mass attendance sheet. While our attendance numbers have been steady since Easter, they are still far from the numbers we had prior to the pandemic. But that’s not really the point of my writing this week. The thought that occurred to me is that it was last Pentecost 2021, when the archbishop resumed the obligation to attend Mass. While a little longer than a calendar year, it’s been a liturgical year since things started to get back to “normal”. The new “normal” is that a lot of folks haven’t come back to Mass with any consistency. So why am I looking forward to Pentecost? When I was looking at the attendance sheet that morning, I thought, “What if we celebrated Pentecost like we celebrated Easter and Christmas? What if we really made a big deal about it like we do those other holy days?” Pentecost, in my estimation, seems to be just as big of a deal as Christmas and Easter. The early Church was floundering until they received the Holy Spirit and since then, the world has never been the same.
I know I’m jumping ahead a bit, but the weekend of the 7th Sunday of Easter, the week before Pentecost, we hear in the 2nd reading from the last chapter of the Book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, it says….
“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ Let the hearer say, ‘Come.’ Let the one who thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water.”
These are the last words uttered by humanity in the entire Bible. It’s not a person per se, but the Church, the bride who speaks. The Church, we the people of God, are the bride of the bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Filled with and animated by the Holy Spirit, we long for the coming of Christ, like a bride pines for her bridegroom on their wedding night.
Many of us might find it strange that God uses nuptial language to describe not only His relationship with us, but to describe the communion we will experience on the Last Day. We shouldn’t find it that strange though, since every human being ever born has thought and, in some way, desired marriage. Marriage, the longing for communion with another, is as natural to us as breathing. While not all are called to the vocation marriage, all sense a longing for communion.
Go to the first book in the Bible, Genesis. What does God say about marriage? “It is not good to be alone.” So, God creates a suitable partner for man. “This one at last is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.”
These are the first words uttered by man in the Bible. They are also nuptial words expressing the longing Adam has for his bride, Eve, on their wedding day.
As we prepare for Pentecost, let’s not make it just another Sunday. Let’s notice the longing in our own hearts for communion. It is the Spirit who animates this longing. May we who thirst come forward and receive the gift of life-giving water. Come, Lord Jesus!
Fr. Jeff Lorig, Pastor