+ Pax et Bonum!  Peace and Goodness to all of you this day!

You know, we celebrate anniversaries, to remind us of us of our past, and to help us remember who we are.  This year, in 2015, we are celebrating some monumental anniversaries.  For example, June 18th , 2015 is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, where the French emperor, Napoleon, was defeated.  August 6th , 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the U.S. dropping the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, and three days later, on Nagasaki.   On a much lighter note, July 4th 2015 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  Just this past January 8th, was the 80th anniversary of the birth of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll.   And this December 12th, will be the 100th anniversary of the birth of Frank Sinatra.  I’m pretty sure that that’s a national holiday in New Jersey.  Anniversaries are good.  They are good reminders.  They help us to not forget our past.  And they help us to know ourselves better.

Today, on this Feast of Pentecost, we as a Church celebrate a very special anniversary.  Today is considered the birthday of the Church.  Today, almost two thousand years ago, the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles and everything changed.  At Pentecost, they were empowered to change the world with their Faith.  And all of a sudden, Jesus’ promised gift of the Holy Spirit made sense to them.  In fact, all of the teachings, all of their experiences, and everything that they had come to know about this Jesus Christ, all came together in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  And things would never be the same again.  If there’s one experience of Christianity, that the Apostles and the early Church would most want all of us to still be having today, it is most definitely the outpouring the Holy Spirit!  It was and is that important!  And that makes today, this Feast day, this anniversary, one of the most important days of the year!

Even in 2015, as Church, we need to know how essential the Holy Spirit is to everything that we are doing!  Every inspiration, every good thought, every good deed, and the courage and power to accomplish all that we need to accomplish, ALL come from the Holy Spirit.  The more we as Church rely on the Holy Spirit, the better off we are going to be.  Church is not supposed to be about us.  Church is supposed to be about the Holy Spirit working THROUGH us.  Hopefully, we are allowing that to happen every day.  But we’ve got to remember to pray to the Holy Spirit.  We need to ask daily for the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, to keep being Church!  Now more than ever, the Church needs to be the vehicle of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the engine, the fuel, and power train of the Church.  The more we let that happen, the better we are together as Church.

What gets in the way of the Holy Spirit?  What is it that stops the Holy Spirit from being that powerful influence in our lives today?  It is our sin.  Our sins get in the way of the Holy Spirit.  If we are choosing sin over God, then we are essentially locking the Holy Spirit out of our lives, and out of the Church!  God cannot interact with sin.  It is why Mary needed to be sinless from the first moment of her conception.   And it is truly why we have to do every thing that we can to root out sin from our lives.  The Holy Spirit will help us in our battle against sin.  But the Holy Spirit can’t help us if we are clinging to our old, sinful ways, and refusing to let Him in.  Let the Holy Spirit reign in your heart.  It’s gotta be more than just a song.  And to do that, we’ve got to root out sin, and evil, and selfishness, and pride, and all those things that get in the way of us becoming, who God truly created us to be.

This is a great day!  There’s a great reason why the Easter season ends with this Feast Day!  Today, the Church is empowered to take over the building of the Kingdom of God!  Let us take seriously that mission.  Let us use the Holy Spirit and enjoy His comforts and peace.  And let us allow God’s grace to change our hearts, and our lives, so that together, we can all be His Holy people!

Happy Pentecost!  Enjoy this special day!

+  May God bless us today with the Holy Spirit,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…   AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…                  Pray for us !!!