Rekindling the Fire
(Pentecost: Acts 2:1-11; Galatians 5:16-25; John 15:26-27 and 16:12-15)
The disciples had been gathering in the upper room for some time. There they prayed, they elected Matthias to replace Judas and, as Jesus had told them at his Ascension, they were waiting for “the promise of the Father.”
Then, in wind and fire, came the Spirit driving them, as it were, out of the upper room into the world to preach, “as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.”
In today’s Gospel Acclamation we pray: “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love;” and in the Sequence: “Bend the stubborn heart and will; Melt the frozen, warm the chill; Guide the steps that go astray.”
In the second reading, St. Paul is trying to help the Galatians understand that their sectarian quarrels (among other things) have nothing to do with the fruits of the Spirit. “If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit,” he writes. In other words, leave behind everything that is not of the Spirit.
When we read these words, we may be inclined to feel guilty as charged. If so, what is holding us back?
At La Salette, Mary came to rekindle the fire of God’s love in her people. With a message that was deliberately unsettling, she wanted to drive them out of their complacency, so that they might respond to their Christian vocation, as the Spirit enabled them.
The challenge of Pentecost is always the rekindling of our hearts, but not for ourselves alone. The fire is meant to spread. It is restless; if it stays in one place, it will burn out.
So also with La Salette. Visitors to the Holy Mountain often shed tears when it is time to leave. But La Salette is like the upper room of Pentecost. What is experienced there must not be confined to that place.
The Beautiful Lady appeared in light, to draw our attention back to her Son. She spoke so as to be understood. As La Salettes, it is not enough for us to repeat her words. We want to truly listen to others, to speak their language; we still need the Holy Spirit to drive us out into the world to preach, work, live and show our love for God, and thus to help us translate La Salette with our words and actions.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.