Recently my daughter received an invitation to the wedding of her friend. It seemed strange to me that she got the written invitation now, because the wedding is not until December 31, and it will take place at the bride’s home and not a public venue that would have had to be reserved far in advance. I don’t know the details, but it did get me thinking about invitations.
We read in the gospel passage in today’s liturgy that, at Jesus’ dying request, John, Jesus’ beloved disciple, cared for Jesus’ mother, Mary, in his own home. Yesterday, the feast of Pentecost, we invited the Holy Spirit to come to us as we read the sequence, Veni, Sancte Spiritus. We invite the Holy Spirit to shine within us, give us rest in our labor, console us in sad times, fill our inmost being, heal our wounds, free us from guilt, help us to overcome stubbornness, and bring us the Spirit’s sevenfold gifts. We invite the Spirit to set us on fire with love.
So, what if the Holy Spirit comes with all that we invite the Spirit to bring and we are not really there or prepared? If someone comes to us with relief and numerous gifts, shouldn’t we receive everything with open minds and hearts? Invitations imply readiness and preparation. The gifts that are brought in love should be, in turn, used.
Our God is a generous and forgiving God. Knowing that, we can repent of our sins and resolve to clear the way for the Spirit’s gifts. Being open to the Holy Spirit makes us ready to speak in the language of love to those around us. Even a daily short prayer to the Spirit can put us into the right frame of mind.
Psalm 51:12-14 is a good example:
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
One of the best gifts the Holy Spirit offers us is hope. If we try to pass on that hope, we are really inviting more peace and joy into our busy, troubled world. May we try to look for the Holy Spirit each day and be grateful for all the Spirit’s gifts. We might even be vocal about what we see so that others’ awareness grows.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may
abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit. (Romans 15;13.)