A HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF PENTECOST – CYCLE “C” – JUNE 9TH, 2019 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
All the rain that we have lately, and all the rainy days of the past several weeks, has reminded me of my family’s favorite rainy day activity from when I was growing up. And it wasn’t board games. We were too competitive for board games. We’d kill each other in the middle of a board game if it became too competitive. Plus, some board games, like Monopoly and Risk and Clue could go on forever. And the hope always was that an afternoon rainstorm would not go on forever, and after a little while, we could be back outside. We didn’t need some never-ending board game. It wasn’t cards either. We weren’t a big card-playing family. Again, there was the competition thing, but even more than that, playing cards just seemed like such a waste of time, even it was pouring outside. We didn’t have video games back then, or Netflix, or I-Pads. And those were the days when your phone hung on the wall, and the only time you thought about it was when it rang. You didn’t check your phone ten times every five minutes. So what did we do when we had a rainy afternoon? Well, my brothers and I, and my parents too, used to put together jigsaw puzzles. We get out a big card table, we’d get one of those really big jigsaw puzzles with like 5000 or 8000 or even 10000 pieces, and we’d go to town on a rainy Saturday afternoon, until gradually, by Saturday night, the picture that the puzzle made came together, right there in the middle of our family room, on that card table. Everybody helped out. We’d talk and visit while we were putting the puzzle together. Sometimes we’d divide the puzzle into sections, and each one of us would work on trying to get our section done, so that we could add it the whole picture. It was fun. It got everybody involved. Our whole family would work on the puzzle together. And it was very difficult to get into fights or arguments about a jigsaw puzzle.
So, as a family, we had several really large jigsaw puzzles, in our puzzle closet. And on rainy days, we’d whip out another one and put it together. Now, over time, the puzzle boxes would start to break down in the corners. Or maybe when we would put the puzzle away, we became less careful of getting all the pieces back into the box. Or maybe it was just after putting the same puzzle together so many times, that pieces started to disappear. And nothing ruins putting a really cool jigsaw puzzle together quite like a missing piece, or missing pieces. I remember we had this really huge jigsaw puzzle of John Wayne as a cowboy, with scenes of Native Americans all around him. It was one of our favorite puzzles. Yet, one time, when we put it all together, there was one piece that we missing, a single piece, but it was missing from right in the middle of John Wayne’s face! The piece was just gone. The puzzle was ruined. A few weeks later, we would put the puzzle together again, hoping and praying, that somehow the missing piece would magically show up. It didn’t. And then the John Wayne puzzle got relegated to the pile of puzzle boxes that were no longer all there. They, the puzzles, were missing pieces. And
they would never be their whole selves again. They had spent their last rainy afternoons with our family.
On this Feast of Pentecost, we are reminded just how much like a big old jigsaw puzzle the Church is, and the only thing that puts us together, and holds us together, and keeps us together, is the Holy Spirit! Today, we celebrate that day when the Holy Spirit came down upon all the Apostles, and Disciples, and followers of Jesus, and changed their lives forever. The Holy Spirit made the Church the Church! Those guys couldn’t do anything on their own. But when the Holy Spirit hit them, everything was different. Great miracles happened. So many got Baptized! Peoples hearts were changed! The Church came alive. And it was One, and it was Holy, and it was Catholic, and it was Apostolic. It was what it was supposed to be, what God needed it to be. It became the vehicle of the Holy Spirit. And nothing could stop that Church, not even the powers of hell!
These are much darker days for the Catholic Church today, two thousand years later. It’s not been easy to keep following Christ, not for any of us. Like some of those old jigsaw puzzles, today the Church is missing a few pieces, and we’re finding it very difficult to be the Church we are supposed to be, still empowered by the Holy Spirit, when we’re missing more than a fe w pieces.
You see, the Holy Spirit is NOT just for a few people in the Church. It’s not just for Charismatics. It’s not just for the Bishops. It’s not just for those who have done Christ Renews His Parish or Cursillo. The Holy Spirit is not just for the Parish Council, or for the choir, or for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Here’s one for you, the Holy Spirit isn’t just for Catholics, it’s not just for those who voted Pro-Life in the last election, and it is not just for perfect people. The fact is this: the Holy Spirit is for ALL of us!!! We all need it. Every day! And for us to try and follow Jesus without the Holy Spirit at any point, well, it’s just like we are the missing pieces of the puzzle, not allowing the whole Church to be what it is supposed to be.
This is very serious stuff, guys. Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to fire you up and use you as an instrument of God’s love? Like a puzzle missing a few pieces, the Catholic Church cannot be what it need to be with you and the Holy Spirit. We all say we want a better Church. We want the Church to be better. A whole lot of that better has nothing to do with our Bishops or priests, it has much more to do with each one of us, living up to our Baptismal commitments and allowing the Holy Spirit to do great things for all of us. This Pentecost isn’t about the Apostles two thousand years ago, this Pentecost is about us, each one of us, today. The Church needs to be whole and complete. The Holy Spirit can help us with that. But it will only work if you put in your piece of the puzzle! What can you do, to live in the Holy Spirit? And make our Church better?
+ May God bless us this Pentecost, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!