A Homily on Pentecost - June 4, 2017
In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Whenever we make the sign of the cross we are not only praying but professing our core beliefs as Catholic Christians. This is what we profess in the Nicene Creed, which we recite at our Sunday Masses, and whenever we start the rosary with the Apostles Creed.
We believe in a Triune God, one God in three Divine Persons, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is the Creator, the Son Incarnate in Jesus is the Savior, and the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier.
Today the universal Church focuses on the coming of the Holy Spirit as promised by Our Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit came to the fearful disciples gathered in a room behind closed doors with Our Blessed Mother. The Holy Spirit came in the form of a strong driving wind and in tongues of fire which rested on their heads. This happened 50 days after the resurrection of our Lord Jesus from the dead, thus Pentecost Sunday.
After their spending days in fear of the Jew, the Holy Spirit moves them to leave the safety of the upper room to proclaim the Lord Jesus, with courage and with enthusiasm to the crowds gathered from many nations: the devout Jews, the unbelievers, the wayward and the godless. The apostles have gone from fear to faith, from cowardice to courage, from terror to testimony, as witnesses to Christ, the awaited Messiah, the Savior of mankind!
Pentecost is also the birthday of the Church, inaugurated by St. Peter’s apostolic preaching, which resulted in the conversion of 3000 Jews and Gentiles to the Christian faith that very day.
Later on the fire of Pentecost made them go to other lands and made them willing and joyful to meet even death during the period of brutal persecution that followed. And so did many of their successors who spread the Gospel in an unbelieving and hostile and world.
As Catholic Christians, we received the Holy Spirit, first at our Baptism. We were made stronger by the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. Whenever we go to confession and receive the Eucharist worthily, we receive the presence of the Holy Spirit. With His gifts we became more loving, joyful, patient, kind and generous and have temperance. We also became more knowledgeable, discerning in our actions, valued our Faith more and having a holy fear of the Lord.
What are the messages of Pentecost for us today?
First, that we must always invite the Holy Spirit constantly in our hearts so that we may always be filled with the fire of His love and nurture His gifts. You probably know that each time the cardinals gather in a conclave to elect a new Pope, they start it with chanting the Veni Creator Spiritus, invoking the Holy Spirit’s guidance and inspiration. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to always guide us in our actions.
Second: that we must share our Faith with others.
Unfortunately, too many of us Christians are silent, dominated by fear, or lacking in enthusiasm. Perhaps we fear being called names, being ridiculed, or resisted for being not politically correct, or we are afraid of not being able to answer questions asked of us.
Today, we are asked again: proclaim the Gospel of the Lord, not only within the confines of our churches and our homes, but by the witness and example of our lives, wherever we are -–in the work place and the public arena, which includes the social media, if we use it
Before our Resurrected Lord ascended into heaven, He gave us the Great Commission, namely to proclaim the Gospel to all nations. This order still stands. We as individual Christians are a not worthy of the name, if we fail to win souls for Jesus Christ. The Spirit of the Lord is going to fill the earth, but only through us.
Spread the good news. Ignore what the pollsters tell you about a declining Church and let the Lord cast a fire on the earth through you! Otherwise, we will really become a declining Church.
Remember the two disciples on their way back to Emmaus after the crucifixion of our Lord? When Jesus joined them and explained to them the Scriptures, they said: “Were not our hearts burning [on fire] when He taught us the Scriptures? The two disciples on their way back to Jerusalem announce to the other disciples they had met the Lord.
Brothers and sisters: Saint Paul reminds the Corinthian community of the presence of the Holy Spirit in us he asks, "Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?" (I Corinthians 3:16). "God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 5:5)
Today, it is good to ask ourselves: Am I really aware that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? Are we on fire with the love of God, of our neighbor? We better be on fire, because the enemy is on fire, so aggressive to promote their agenda, to destroy the family, to destroy us, to bring us to the eternal fire, the fires of hell, it is the fire that we do not like.
Do we nourish our spiritual life through the sacraments – Confirmation, Confession? These will make you strong in your love for Christ and of your neighbor. This fire that is the Holy Spirit will not make us stingy with the Lord, lethargic in our spiritual life, being lazy to meet Him, to pray, and to help those in need.
The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said about the Church, "Even though we are God's chosen people, we often behave more like God's frozen people--frozen in our prayer life, frozen in the way we relate with one another, frozen in the way we celebrate our faith."
Today is a great day to ask the Holy Spirit to rekindle in us the spirit of new life and enthusiasm, the fire of God's love. Let us pray: “Come Holy Spirit:”
“Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love, Send forth Your Spirit and we shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth. Amen.” #