Last week I visited St Patrick’s parish in Southport, where a beautiful new church was opened in 2000. Inscribed on the altar, lectern, font and tabernacle are verses from the hymn known as St Patrick’s Breastplate. The verse on the lectern reads ‘Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word, I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord’. These few words speak volumes about the feast of Pentecost.
Jesus was sent by the Father, not just to reveal God’s love for us, but to draw us into the relationship of love which is the nature of God: Father, Son and Spirit. In returning to the Father, he promised to be with us always. One of the many ways that promise is fulfilled is by the gift of the Holy Spirit, a permanent presence in our hearts, bringing wisdom and understanding. Today’s first reading describes how the presence of the Spirit creates the miracle of understanding between people of different races and languages.
During the last week, 63 of our children and young people received the gift of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Confirmation. At every Pentecost that gift of the Spirit, which we first received in Baptism, is renewed in each one of us. Let us pray that it may bring about miracles of understanding in our families, in our parish community and in our world.
Next weekend we will celebrate the feast of the Trinity, the mystery of the love that is Father, Son and Spirit, with our Forty Hours devotion. It is an invitation to spend time just being with the Lord, making our own the prayer inscribed on the altar in St Patrick’s church: ‘Thou my best thought by day or night, waking or sleeping, thy presence my light’.