Reflection for Pentecost Sunday

The Father, the Son, and Who?
I really dislike fill-in-the-blanks…

“Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”

In preparing the bulletin this week I came across a picture. The image of God the Father and of Jesus. The third frame showed and empty picture frame. Above it says Father, Son, and Who? Our automatic reaction is to fill in the blank. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The empty picture frame is filled up with the picture of a dove or a flame, like the tongues of flame that came to rest on those in the upper room. The picture complete, we feel a sense of completeness. But are we done?

Truly, the Holy Spirit filled those in the upper room. They burst out onto the balcony above the street, and Peter gave the very first homily. The Apostles were filled, and so we think the blank is filled. The Spirit is in the picture frame; the bishops are there to lead our faith journey. Aren’t we set? They were committed, committed to the mission that Jesus passed onto them. Committed to filling in the blank. Isn’t that enough?

We often think that God will take care of everything. Certainly He will. He fills the blanks in our lives. But God also needs us to fill in the blank space. Jesus needed the Apostles to step up, to follow the instructions He gave them, to go out into the world and preach the Word, to baptize, to proclaim salvation through the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus calls us to the same mission. He needs us to do exactly those things. To do what the Holy Spirit prompts us to do. To fill in the blanks.

God Has taken care of the courage, energy, and determination we need. As He empowered the Apostles through the gift of the Holy Spirit. He empowers us through our baptism and confirmation. The Holy Spirit is more than an empty frame. The blank is filled in by those called to do God’s work in the world.

Consider those picture frames. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Then fill in the last picture frame with a picture of you. Don’t just put a dove in the frame and walk away satisfied. Put a picture of yourself in there because every Christian must fill in the blank. The Holy Spirit fills us. The dove won’t do God’s work or carry our Jesus’ instructions. We have been filled with the Holy Spirit for a reason. He gives us all we need to do His work.

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