A HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF PENTECOST – CYCLE “C” – MAY 15TH, 2016 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
In the 2013 movie, Gravity, Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant engineer on her first shuttle mission. When disaster strikes, the space shuttle is destroyed, and Dr. Ryan is stranded in space. The main story of the movie is all of her attempts, and everything that she must do, to return to earth and save her own life. Towards the end of the movie, when her attempts to get home seem to have failed, she prepares to give up and die. Suddenly, her deceased fellow astronaut, Matt Kowalski, played by George Clooney, who died earlier in the movie, shows up beside her to help out. He encourages her not to quit and guides her home and back toward earth. It’s a great movie. The special effects are amazing. And the movie won several Academy Awards in 2014.
When we are in trouble, when we reach the end of our strength, wouldn’t it be nice if someone like George Clooney came to save us? Or maybe you would like Sandra Bullock to come and save you! Today, on this Feast of Pentecost, we get reminded that as Christians, we do have such a helper, albeit an invisible One, the Holy Spirit! We don’t talk enough about the Holy Spirit. As 21st Century Catholic Christians we don’t rely on the Holy Spirit near as much as we should either. And that’s a shame, because we’re missing out on how this is ALL supposed to work. The Holy Spirit IS our help
We know that at the Last Supper, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit from the Father. He referred to this Spirit as the Paraclete, a Greek word that means “someone called to be at the side.” This promised Holy Spirit is also known as the Comforter, the Counselor, and the Advocate. The Holy Spirit would bear witness to Jesus and help us to bear witness to Him! There was much that the Apostles didn’t understand about the promised Holy Spirit. They remembered what Jesus had said and how important this Holy Spirit was supposed to be. But they had no idea what the Holy Spirit would do to them.
That, my brothers and sisters all changed on Pentecost day. The Apostles were all gathered together. They had stayed in Jerusalem as they had been instructed. They were still terrified of the Jews and were convinced that they were going to be next, to be crucified. And yet, when the Holy Spirit hit them, all that fear and trepidation disappeared! There was the strong, driving wind noise and the tongues of fire that came down upon each of them. They ran outside. Probably the last time that they had been outside was when Jesus ascended into Heaven. They were filled with enthusiasm and boldness. They spoke entirely different languages. They could heal and expel demons. The local people thought that they were drunk or high, they were so filled with joy. It makes you think, when’s the last time that people thought that the Church was drunk or high, because of our joy, not because we were really drunk or high!
Today, this Pentecost, we the Church, are as in much need of the Holy Spirit, as the early Church was two-thousand years ago! We need the Holy Spirit’s help. Today I would suggest that we in modern America are very much like the pre-Pentecost Apostles. So many times we huddle together in fear of what’s going on in the world and in the culture that surrounds us, and can be very hostile to the Church. Pope Francis is prodding us to engage our culture – not to condemn it, but to love it enough to save it!
Clearly, we have an American culture that is in distress! We so value our diversity and independence, while we find unity and working together more elusive. Individualism is something that is so dear to the American heart, but have we completely lost a sense of living together in a shared community. Nobody talks today about the common good or about the rights of the community or the whole of us. In 2016 it is so hard to talk about us and we, and when all we hear about is me, me, me!
The Holy Spirit comes to us today as Church to bring us together, to offer us strength and hope and help, and to send us out, fired up, to build the Kingdom of God. We desperately need the Holy Spirit. Let us pray for It every day. Our world desperately needs the Church, the message of Christ, and the unity that brings us together, to fight the selfishness that tears us apart. May this Pentecost be our time to change the world! May the Holy Spirit continue to change us, and help us out, every day!
+ May God bless us on this Pentecost, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!