From the Pastor's Desk
PENTECOST SUNDAY: BIRTH DAY OF THE CHURCH
Pentecost literally means 50th. It is a feast celebrated on the 50th day after the Passover feast by the Jews and a feast celebrated on the 50th day after the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus by Christians. The Jewish Pentecost was originally a post-harvest thanksgiving feast. Later, the Jews included in it the remembrance of God’s Covenants with Noah after the Deluge and with Moses at Mt. Sinai
The event: On the day of Pentecost: 1) The Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary as fiery tongues.
2) The frightened apostles were transformed into fiery preachers and evangelizers and were given the gift of tongues by a special anointing of the Holy Spirit.
3) The listeners experienced a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit through the apostles’ gift of tongues: they heard Peter speaking in their native languages.
4) The early Christians became powerful witnesses and brave martyrs for their Faith in Jesus.
The role of the Holy Spirit in Christian life: 1) As an indwelling God, the Holy Spirit makes us His Living Temples (I Cor 3:16).
2) As a strengthening God, He strengthens us in our fight against temptations and in our mission of bearing witness to Christ by our transparent Christian lives.
3) As a sanctifying God, He makes us holy through the Sacraments: a) Through Baptism He makes us children of God and heirs of Heaven. b) Through Confirmation, He makes us temples of God, warriors, and defenders of the Faith. c) Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, He enables us to be reconciled with God by pardoning our sins. d) Through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, He gives us spiritual nourishment by converting bread and wine into Jesus’ Body, Blood Soul, and Divinity, through Epiclesis. e) Through the Sacraments of the priesthood (Ordination) and matrimony (Marriage), He makes the Church community holy.
4) As a teaching and guiding God, He clarifies and constantly reminds us of Christ’s teachings and guides the Magisterium of the Church in presenting Christ’s teachings correctly.
5) As a listening and speaking God, He listens to our prayers, enables us to pray, and speaks to us, mainly through the Bible.
6) As a Giver of gifts, He gives us His gifts, fruits, and charisms, thus enriching the Church.
We need to permit the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives:
1) by constantly remembering His holy presence and behaving well;
2) by praying for His daily anointing so that we may fight against our temptations and control our evil tendencies, evil habits and addictions;
3) by asking His daily assistance to pray, listening to God through meditative Bible reading, and talking to Him; and
4) by asking the help of the Holy Spirit to do good for others and to be reconciled with God and others every day.
Treasure within: An old beggar lay on his deathbed. His last words were to his young son who had been his constant companion during his begging trips. “Dear son," he said, “I have nothing to give you except a cotton bag and a dirty bronze bowl which I got in my younger days from the junk yard of a rich lady.” After his father’s death, the boy continued begging, using the bowl his father had given him. One day a gold merchant dropped a coin in the boy’s bowl and he was surprised to hear a familiar ring. “Let me check your bowl,” the merchant said. To his great surprise, he found that the beggar’s bowl was made of pure gold. “My dear young man," he said, “why do you waste your time begging? You are a rich man. That bowl of yours is worth at least thirty thousand dollars.” -- We Christians are often like this beggar boy who failed to recognize and appreciate the value of his bowl. We fail to appreciate the infinite worth of the Holy Spirit living within each of us, sharing His gifts and fruits and charisms with us. On this major feast day, we are invited to experience and appreciate the transforming, sanctifying, and strengthening presence of the Holy Spirit within us. This is also a day for us to renew the promises made to God during our Baptism and Confirmation, to profess our Faith, and to practice it.
Let us repeat Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman’s favorite little prayer,
“Come Holy Spirit:” “Come Holy Spirit Make our ears to hear” “Make our eyes to see” “Make our mouths to speak” “Make our hearts to seek” “Make our hands to reach out And touch the world with your love”. AMEN.
Fr. Gus. MS, Pastor