May 23, 2021
Marlene Milasus, OSB, Benedictine Sisters of Elizabeth, NJ
Well, I had a nice Pentecost reflection ready to put on paper, until this weekday morning as I did lectio on the day’s Gospel, John 16: 12-15. During his Last Discourse to the Apostles at the Last Supper, Jesus says that he has much more to tell them, but that they’re not yet ready to hear it all, that the Holy Spirit will be with them to reveal it at the proper time.
So the Gospel, the Good News, is not a tightly-wrapped package that we open to inventory its contents and put them on their proper shelves. It’s rather a gift that keeps on giving, as we become more transformed by what we have already heard and seen, more ready for the next revelation.
Thus the Good News is always good, and it’s always new. Its goodness is easy to accept, but its newness can be a challenge. This Good News has a way of shattering things: age-old assumptions, etched-in-stone certainties, tightly-held identities. Spirit-sourced insights can shatter our well-meant assumptions that turn out to be based on partial understandings or expressions; the stone on which we inscribe our certainties may eventually erode; and tightly-held identities, both personal and communal, can end up keeping our hands closed and unable to receive the next new gift.
So as we celebrate Pentecost today, may we be mindful of the wind and flame that signal the Spirit’s presence, comforting and consoling, but also tugging and challenging. The Pentecost event didn’t end on that first day of the Spirit’s presence; it continues and we are still living in it, called and challenged to take the next step, and the next, and the next.
Growth and change in Christ are organic, much like the acorn that becomes an immense oak; you’d never mistake one for the other, and yet it’s the same organism. United with one another in and through the Risen Jesus, heeding the push of the Spirit, let’s move forward into not-so-Ordinary Time with joy and anticipation, not needing to know the outcome, but always confident, because….there’s more.
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Sister Marlene Milasus is a member of Benedictine Sisters of Elizabeth, NJ, St Walburga Monastery. Currently, she is serving as community treasurer and liturgist. She works in a monastery retreat program and is a licensed New Jersey boiler operator!