A HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF PENTECOST – CYCLE “A” – JUNE 4TH, 2017 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to each of you this day!
One of my favorite things to do, as a little boy, was to play catch. I loved throwing a ball around, and didn’t matter if it was a baseball, or football, or a Frisbee. I used to play catch with my Dad, and with my brothers, and with my cousins, and even with the neighbor kids. I never cared much for the game of baseball. It was way too slow for me. But I liked throwing a baseball around, with a glove on. Now, the problem with really liking to throw a baseball around just for some catch, is that you always had to have someone to play catch with. As a small child, I was constantly asking everybody around me to play catch. I’m sure that I used to drive people crazy asking. But you can’t play catch by yourself, not with a baseball, and not with a football, and not even with a Frisbee. Maybe with a boomerang, I’m not sure. But usually, it takes at least one other person. Most of the time, you gotta find another person. There are just some things that you can’t do alone in life. You can’t be married by yourself. It takes two people. You can’t be a family by yourself, you gotta have at least one other person. And you can’t be Church by yourself either.
In fact, concerning this last one, Church, we can’t be Church without the Holy Spirit either. Today we celebrate the birthday of the Church. The promised Holy Spirit that we’ve heard about these last couple of weeks, finally comes down upon the Apostles, and it changes them completely! They would never be the same again! And the Church could never be the Church, without the Holy Spirit from that moment on, even until today. This is not a feast day of some shadowy, obscure, spiritual cause, floating around, waiting to do some good. The Holy Spirit is the powerful, energy source that enables all of us to keep following Jesus Christ, to keep building His Kingdom, and to help us to keep working together to do miraculous things, while we await His return! This is a powerful Feast Day! This is because today we remember what really does empower the Church, and fire it up, and keep it going! It is that promised Third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit. No wonder Jesus had this great desire for all of us, everyone who calls themselves Christian, that we experience and be empowered by, this incredible life source! The Apostles thought that Jesus was great! They loved Him very much! But after He left them, and most especially after He sent them His Holy Spirit, they got it. They got it. They realized why it is was so important for Jesus to go to the Father, and why it was so important that the Father and the Son send us the Holy Spirit! Because just like playing catch, we couldn’t do it without the Holy Spirit!
The Apostles had long since been given the task of preaching and building the Kingdom of God, but they did not have the capacity to fulfill this mission until Jesus breathed His God-given power on them. And just as God breathed life into Adam at the creation, and gave him life, so too, Christ, Who is God, creates the Church and gives her the Holy Spirit to guide and protect her. Adam was created to know, love and serve God. But he couldn’t do it by himself. The Church, also instituted by God, picks up exactly where Adam left off, to make God known, loved, and served by all. As much as we follow that mission, and stick with God’s plan for us, and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and help us, the Church becomes the vehicle to lead us all back to immortality. New life is given to us! By this outpouring of the Holy Spirit, God calls all people to a new way of life! We know that hundreds of people began that first Pentecost to live new lives according to the Spirit of God – living in charity, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance. Things would never be the same! Not then, and not now!
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Today we rejoice over the Gift of the Holy Spirit. We are no longer alone. We don’t have to do anything by ourselves! May that same Holy Spirit who fired up the Apostles come into our hearts, come into our parishes, come into our homes, and renew the face of the earth!
+ May God bless us on this great Feast Day, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!