Sunday, June 4, 2017

Pentecost

We conclude the Easter season today with the feast of Pentecost. While we spent forty days in penance during Lent, today marks the fiftieth day of the Easter celebration, reminding us that our joy in the victory which Jesus won in His Resurrection is greater than our sorrow over our sinfulness. In fact, the name Pentecost literally means fifty in Greek. It is this day in which God pours forth the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles to start the Church.
In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to celebrate this day as a harvest festival and as a commemoration of the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai after God had freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. It is most appropriate, then, that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurs on this day, to remind us that it is by the Spirit of God that we have everything we possess: not just our salvation but the fundamentals of existence, such as food, clothing, shelter. God always acts with the Spirit: we should recall how Adam received the Spirit of life in the very beginning in order to live, or how the Spirit is called upon by the psalmist to renew the face of the earth. But what or who is the Holy Spirit?
Put simply, the Holy Spirit is the love between the Father and the Son. This love is so real, so tremendous between the two, that it is a divine Person, hence the Most Holy Trinity, which we will celebrate next Sunday. But this Person who is love does not remain only between the Father and the Son; He is sent down upon humanity to be the bond of love between God and man. It is in the Spirit that we are able to be united to Jesus Christ, as Saint Paul highlights in our second reading. It is through the Spirit that we are able to become holy, for only by His presence in us are we able to pray as we ought or to know what it means to be holy.
Above all, God sends forth His Spirit so as to renew the face of the earth. How does He do this? By His indwelling within our souls. God does not send the Spirit only on one occasion, but pours Him out upon us like water from a fountain. We are always in need of the rejuvenating graces and the ceaseless presence of the Holy Spirit to become holy, to be what we are supposed to be. We ought to make our own what the sequence for today’s feast beseeches of the Spirit: “Cleanse that which is unclean, water that which is dry, heal that which is wounded. Bend that which is inflexible, enflame that which is chilled, correct what goes astray.” Only in the Spirit can we be good, only in the Spirit can we be just, only in the Spirit can we be holy.

Let us beseech God on this day to pour out upon us once more His Holy Spirit so that we may be what we were created to be. Let us make our own those wondrous words, “Come Creator Spirit! Come from thy heavenly throne, and make our souls thine own!” Let us beg God to renew us by His Spirit so that we may be engulfed in the fire of His love, transformed from mediocrity into the saints we are supposed to be. Do not remain cold or lukewarm, but be stirred anew to live by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. May our parish truly be a temple of the Holy Spirit, where the fire of love burns day and night, the unquenchable fire that does not destroy but purifies and prepares all for the glories that await the faithful in the eternal splendor of Heaven.

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