June 5, 2022
“Send forth Your Spirit, O Lord, and Renew the Face of the Earth.”
The season of Easter concludes with this week’s celebration, the feast of Pentecost. For the Old Testament people, Pentecost was the culmination of their Harvest Feast of Weeks, occurring on the fiftieth day, seven weeks, after the Passover (cf. Deut 16:9-10). For us, the new Israel, it is about the descent of the Holy Spirit, fifty days after the Passover Sacrifice of the Lamb – the Harvest Feast, not of wheat or barley, but of souls; the restoration of our broken relationship with God. Thus, Pentecost is the blessing of new life in the spirit, a new beginning, a new dawn. Actually, this new beginning reminds me of many significant things as I celebrated the one-year anniversary of priesthood last Sunday and the one-year anniversary of becoming associate pastor of St. Pats next week. The year has definitely gone by quickly, filled with too many experiences and blessings to recount in entirety. The feelings of excitement have faded, which is to be expected, but the deeper and more profound experiences of joy and gratitude remain strong. Thank you very much for your love, support, understanding, and patience, St. Pats community! I believe these gifts that you have given to me always remain in me to have a new beginning of bearing fruits in my ministry.
Dear friends! This week is the feast of the gift of the Holy Spirit; this week is the feast of the birthday of the Church; this week is the feast of more. Pentecost is the celebration of the fact that we are now, all of us, more than what can be measured by sight, more than what can be discerned through earthly assessment. We heard in this week’s readings that the Holy Spirit makes apostles more. They speak in more than just one language, and all can understand and hear the Gospel. They act for more than just their own good, accepting persecution and prison that the Gospel of Jesus Christ might bear good fruit. On Pentecost, the apostles begin to live not for themselves, but for Him. The Spirit brings a gift which does more than allow the apostles to be all that they can be. The Spirit makes them more than they ever thought they could be, more than what their parents thought they could be, more than what their childhood friends and neighbors imagined they could be. Like the apostles, we were all given to drink of one Spirit. The Spirit is always about more: doing more, believing more, saying more. And this is how we know we have received the Spirit. In any month we find ourselves being more generous to the poor than we were the previous month, there is the Spirit alive in our hearts. On any day we find ourselves being more patient with a sick parent or troublesome child than we were the day before, there is the Spirit alive in our hearts. At any hour we find ourselves struggling to turn away from lust, greed, and revenge, there is the Spirit alive in our hearts, and then “the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
We remember Jesus said that the Advocate would “teach us everything.” But teaching is never one-sided; the Holy Spirit can teach everything it wants, but effective teaching requires our responsibility, cooperation, and willingness. The story of Pentecost shows us that the Holy Spirit can teach us everything and that with the help of that Spirit miracles can actually happen. But it also teaches us that we need to do our part, to develop a habit of turning to God whenever we are confused, whenever we are frightened, whenever we cannot figure out what is going on.
The Spirit is what holds us together. It is found in our fidelity to our commitments. It is found in our obedience to each other. It is found in the love that passes between us, in the love and fidelity we have to Christ and his word. Our responsible actions and words, our care for each other and concern: that is the Spirit of Pentecost living in us. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of oneness and love, the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation, the spirit of peace and serenity; let us always yield to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.