Fr. John’s Letter – 31st May 2020

Dear Parishioners of St Jerome’s and St Anne’s

‘Send forth your Spirit O Lord, and renew the face of the earth’.

The great Feast of the Holy Spirit has arrived! Pentecost. What a wonderful day this is! The day the Church was born. The day the Spirit was poured out on the Apostles. The last day of the Season of Easter.

What an Easter Season it has been! We have never experienced anything like it. But here we are. The Lord is always speaking to each one of us in our hearts. What is he saying to us?

The words of the psalmist in today’s Mass have a special message for us. We ask God to send His Spirit. He does so generously, again and again. But for what purpose? ‘Renew the face of the earth’ the psalmist prays. It might seem an impossible prayer. After all, there seems to be more bad news than good at the moment. Is a renewal of our earth, of our times really possible?

Perhaps it is time to remind ourselves that with God, all things are possible. His Spirit can move in any place, in any person, at any time. But it is also true that the Holy Spirit is always seeking the one thing that makes real change, true renewal possible; an open and sincere heart. We see this truth again and again in the Scriptures. When God wanted to act, He always found one person who was truly ready to respond, to listen, to change.

Greatest among these was Our Lady. We are told that she was there in the Upper Room that first Pentecost morning. What breathtaking things God was able to achieve through her! Yet, she is mentioned so few times in the New Testament. Indeed, the great figures of the Bible seem to come from nowhere and then quietly fade into the background.

The Holy Spirit can renew the face of the earth! But not in a way that is newsworthy. The intense surge of joy that drove the Apostles into the streets of Jerusalem at Pentecost quickly distilled into a flame that burned steadily in their hearts. The Spirit enabled them to live the Gospel fully and therefore to proclaim it effectively.

On this great Feast of Pentecost, what prayer should we raise to the Holy Spirit? That we might glance back at the last ten weeks, this exceptional time, and be able to trace the movement of the Holy Spirit in our minds and hearts. To be alert to His invitation to open ourselves to Him, to surrender ourselves to Him. To trust, even though we understand little of what is happening around us. To be grateful for all we have received. To begin again each day to live the teachings of Jesus.

‘Renew the face of the earth’. Out of the sufferings and anxieties of this pandemic, the Holy Spirit is creating something new. Will we allow Him to renew us, to work through us so that the face of God might be seen in our times? Let us all pray together today; ‘Come Holy Spirit’.

May God bless you all!

Father John