Don’t Worry, Be Happy
John 14:8-17 (25-27)
I recently heard a definition of a good sermon: it should have a good
beginning. It should have a good ending. And they should be as close together as
possible! This relatively short sermon is entitled, Don’t Worry, Be Happy,
because today, we celebrate Pentecost. The term “pentecost” was adopted from Greek-speaking Jews, a term which means “fiftieth”—understood day, the fiftieth day. In Jewish territory, it designates the close of harvest, fifty days after Passover. In Christian territory, it designates the descent of the Holy Spirit in manifest fashion, which occurred, interestingly, on the Jewish feast of Pentecost, fifty days after the Resurrection. We do not simply commemorate that unusual day, as we read in Acts, chapter 2, “when…the disciples were all together in one place and suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, that filled the entire house and divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them We are, of course, thankful for that blessed day, for, because of it, we, Church, are here. This event is often considered the birth of the Church, for the Holy Spirit binds us to one another. Our good intentions and/or our common values are not enough to bind us such that we be the Body of Christ. What binds us is a Who that binds us, a Divine Person, the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. On Pentecost, we engage the Holy Spirit.
But who is this Holy Spirit, the seemingly faceless Third Person of the
Trinity, Who alone makes us Church?
As abstract as “He” may seem, “He” is indeed a Divine Person, not simply a force or an energy, a Person Who, as we profess in the Nicene Creed, “proceeds from the Father and the Son”, is given to us by the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is referred to, amongst many names in the well-known 4 th -century litany, as the Comforter, the Sanctifier and Consuming Fire. In our reading, Saint Paul makes an incredibly liberating statement: “All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” (Romans 8:14) A child of God shares in the life of God.
A child of God has thus found his or her place, is at home in and with God.
This is why Jesus says to the disciples,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”
Peace follows right order.
Peace follows everything being in its right place
The Holy Spirit takes our hearts and places them in God, Home, our
Child of God, I am.
Child of God Lena will become much more deeply in a few minutes,
with a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the gratuitous gift of grace.
And, it will be the responsibility of her parents, godparents, and faith
community, to help her to know that, as says Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Italian Jesuit,
died in 1591, at age 23, caring for persons stricken with the pandemic of that time,
“It is better to be a child of God than king of the whole world.”
Saint Paul’s statement is also incredibly demanding because he makes it
clear that we are to be led by the Holy Spirit
in order for this liberating spiritual childhood to be real for us.
Being led implies willing cooperation, which is not always easy.
I know that it’s not for me!
My stubbornness, my fear, my fatigue, my selfish indifference get in the
Yet, I am somehow always free to express willingness…
We express our willingness in simply calling upon the Holy Spirit,
without Whom it is not possible truly to live as a friend and disciple of
And so, if I may ask, do you really call upon the Holy Spirit, the powerful, yet quiet inner
guest do you really believe that you are indwelt by,
and thus a temple of, the Holy Spirit?
How often do you cry out with your heart, “Come Holy Spirit!”?
This should be the leitmotif of your day: “Come Holy Spirit!”.
When you wake,
“Come Holy Spirit!”.
When you are about to begin an important business meeting,
or about to visit someone who sends you over the edge,
“Come Holy Spirit!”.
When you are about to express your love to someone dear,
or you feel overwhelmed or fearful or sad or hopeful,
“Come Holy Spirit”.
As the famous Belgian Archbishop during World War I, Joseph Mercier,
“Surrender to the Holy Spirit is the secret to sanctity and
The Holy Spirit is the happiness of God in person, indwelling our hearts.
Let us surrender today.
Don’t worry, be happy.