On The Indwelling Spirit

Often in Christian history, the Spirit has been rendered inpersonally and elusively. Perhaps this reflects concern that the immanence of the God might detract from God’s transcendence. Yet the living one, who remains other than and distinct from the world pervadesit to “mysteriously empower creation from within.” (1) It is an astonishing thing that God has chosen to live in and with us in the kind of intimate relational proximity that has given rise to the language of “indwelling.”

Impersonal and elusive renderings of the Spirit may also be the result of a worry that an “indwelling Spirit” will give way to a “‘God in a bottle’ kind of individualism.” (2) Yet the living God, who draws closer to us than we can imagine, reveals a much bigger vision than the one animating this fear. The Spirit of God breathes, beckons, loves, and prays from an expansive place of abiding within whole communities and their members, and within the entire created order as well, inspiring a sense of kinship throughout, for the sake of a common good that portends a coming reign. Such a vision neither overly anthropomorphic nor privatistic and individualistic.

Colleen M. Griffith, “The Spirit and the Nearness of God”, in The Holy Spirit: Setting the World on Fire, Richard Lennan and Nancy Pineda-Madrid, eds. (New York: Paulist Press, 2017), p. 4.


(1) Denis Edwards, Breath of Life: A Theology of the Creator Spirit (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2004), p. 12.

(2) J.A. Draper, “The Tip of an Ice-Berg: The Temple of the Holy Spirit”, Journal of Theology for Southern Africa 59 (1987): p. 57.

Homilies: Celebration of the Lord’s Passion

Bishop’s Bill homily for Good Friday’s Celebration of the Lord’s Passion as preached during the 3 pm liturgy from Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton. Our apologies for the ‘gaps’ in the audio; there were some unforeseen technical issues.

The readings proclaimed were Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; John 18:1 – 19:42.

Homilies: 5th Sunday of Lent, Year A

Bishop Bill’s homily for the 5th Sunday of Lent (Year A) as preached during the live-streamed 9.30 am Mass from Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton.

The readings proclaimed were Ezekiel 37:12-14; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:1-45.

“I am the resurrection and life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

Homilies: 4th Sunday of Lent, Year A

My homily for the 4th Sunday of Lent (Year A) as preached in an empty Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton as Mass was celebrated at 9.30 am in the absence of the assembly.

The readings proclaimed were 1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13; Ephesians5:8-14; John 9:1-41.

“The journey of the man born blind and the authorities stand in stark contrast to each other. One moves from physical blindness, to sight, to spiritual awareness; the other moves from physical sight deeper into darkness brought about by attempts to deny the reality staring them in the face. In a time when the world – and the Church – is confronted by pandemic, we could be tempted to deny the facts and reality which we face. Or we could seek to allow God to draw us into a spiritual awakening that focuses on the revelation of God in the here and now. The choice is ours.”

Homilies: 1st Sunday of Lent, Year A

My homily for the 1st Sunday of Lent (Year A) as preached during the 9.30 am Mass in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton.

The readings were Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11.

“The three temptations of Jesus reflect the same three attributes that were the gifts of God to humankind in Eden – food, protection, and place. The response of Jesus reminds us that the Season of Lent is the opportunity to repent of any belief we might have that we are at the centre of creation or that we are able to receive all of God’s promised gifts through our own efforts.”

Homilies: 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

My homily for the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) as preached during the 5.30 pm Saturday evening Mass in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton.

The readings were Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18; 1 Corinthians 3:16-23; Matthew 5:38-48.

“We don’t join a faction or group when we are baptised; we join Christ! We belong to Christ, and therefore to God, not the other way round. When we forget that, we forget the most important thing – something beyond personal preference or personal ideology. God is at the centre of everything, and everything we are and do serves God.”