In his Homily on Pentecost, Bishop Alfred Schlert spoke of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and how they should guide us, and should guide our country, during these difficult times.
Here are excerpts from that Homily:
“If Jesus is the body of our Church, the Holy Spirit can be said to be the soul of our Church. It’s what enlivens us.
It is a good time for us to review the fruits of the Holy Spirit. We talk a lot about the gifts of the Holy Spirit – gifts like wisdom and knowledge and piety and courage. But let’s think about the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit: Charity or love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity.
I think it’s good for us during these very difficult, strife-ridden, violent days in our country to think about the presence of these gifts in our society, in our own lives, and in our Church.
Some would say these gifts are not present in our society because of things like political divisiveness and nastiness, or racism, or violence.
But I would say that those are not causes, they are symptoms. They are symptoms that our country is losing its soul. It is losing its moral moorings to the Judeo-Christian traditions that have built this country. We are not living them. We are not cooperating with the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Listen again to that list of those fruits of the Holy Spirit, and see how many we see present in society right now: Charity or love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.
We have seen tremendous acts of generosity and heroism during the pandemic. They are beautiful examples. We know how we feel when we see those things. We also know how we feel when those things are absent. And right now, especially in these very violent days of rioting, we see their absence. And we have to search our souls to ask, “Why are we not cooperating with the Holy Spirit?”
It’s because our religious mores are very tenuous. Our country is quickly becoming a secular society, where people not only don’t believe in Jesus, they don’t believe in God. The fruits of that lack of belief filter in to every part of our public life.
The Holy Spirit will renew us, but we need to allow the Holy Spirit to accomplish His task, by our free will choice to live in accordance with the Holy Spirit and the mandates thereof.
When Jesus appeared in the Upper Room on the night of Easter Sunday, where the Apostles were hunkered down, he gave them peace, he gave them the Holy Spirit, and he gave them the forgiveness that the Church can offer. These are the three things that must be operative in the Church at all times.
Today we ask our Lord to send us the Holy Spirit. To renew us. To energize us. To give us the courage necessary to confront the world in a way that brings the Gospel and the love of Christ to every person. That is our task today, and has been our Christian task since the first Pentecost.
Our goal as a Church is to make use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and to use them so that they will produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit each and every day.
Our Church needs that. Our nation needs that. Our world needs that.
Come Holy Spirit. Renew the face of the Earth. Renew the face of our Nation. Renew the face of our Church. May God bless you.