. . .and they were all filled with the Holy spirit!

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The colour red is very much in evidence in our church today! There are red vestments and some beautiful floral arrangements in red. We’re celebrating that wonderful occasion when the Holy Spirit crashed into an ‘upper’ room full of timid and frightened people – supposedly followers of Jesus – and strange things began to happen!  There was wind and there was fire and there were people now suddenly transformed, speaking together in a jumble of different languages!

Only a few days ago, the bishop came to our parish, to confirm all those young people from teen-age to mid-twenties, who had prepared themselves for this day  and wanted to be confirmed. At the end of the service, as the bishop anointed each one of our 29 young confirmandi, he surprised them by giving to each one, a noticeable push as he invited them to go out into the world to live the life of the spirit and spread the gospel! And the people, who filled the church to overflowing, clapped joyfully and spontaneously for our young people who had been newly blessed by the Spirit of God!

And now I’m reminded of what happened here in this very place, just forty days ago. As leader of the RCIA team in the parish, I had the happiness of seeing the five people whom we had accompanied on their journey of faith through the year, being received into the church in front of all the people during the Holy Saturday liturgy.  Where there had been Anglicans and Jehovah’s Witnesses and a Buddhist, there were now five new Catholics. As soon as they had they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, through baptism and/or confirmation, the whole congregation clapped enthusiastically, to show the warmth of their welcome and their joy that five people had been guided by the Spirit to join our community!

And then, last week – sometimes good things seem to come in threes! – one of our RCIA team members brought along her eight- month old daughter G for baptism.  Baby G was very cool! Surrounded, by a large number of family and friends, she took everything in her stride. There was no crying. Not even when the water was poured!  Afterwards, at the celebration meal in our church hall, she took pride of place. We congratulated her parents who had brought her thus far, we chatted and laughed, we ‘toasted’ her with a glasses of ‘bubbly’ and we clapped our hands again for joy that a new life had been born in the Holy Spirit!

Now, back in that Upper room all those years ago, what did those early disciples they do when the Spirit came? When they heard that powerful and noisy wind, when they saw those tongues of fire descending on them, what did they do?  Did they sing and dance for joy when these things happened?  And did they hug each other?  Did they clap their hands for joy?  I think they must have done all of these things.  Otherwise, how do you explain all that excitement and all that chattering in different languages?

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