May (19) 20, 2018
Sat 4:30, Sun 8 & 10am
Pentecost Year “B”
It’s not often the Liturgical color is red. When? On the feast days of the martyrs symbolizing the blood they shed for Jesus and His Kingdom; on Palm Sunday and Good Friday when we commemorate the Passion of the Lord (Martyr of martyrs); at the Sacrament of Confirmation, and today - Pentecost Sunday when we commemorate the gift of the Spirit of God coming down upon the believers.
Pentecost was originally a feast celebrated by the Jewish people years before Christ, celebrating a thanksgiving for the harvest and the end of Passover time. But after the Resurrection of Christ Pentecost not only concludes the Easter Season for Christians, it takes on a new meaning in Christ…On the first Pentecost of the New Covenant, the descent of the Holy Spirit was the birth of the Church, forming a body of believers, uniting them together as one. In Genesis (in the beginning) at the tower of Babel the people’s language was confused so that they did not understand each other and as a result were scattered or divided. But in the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2 at Pentecost the Spirit came down and allowed them to understand each other, unifying them as one. This reversed the dividing act at Babel and instituted the Church, united in Christ. Even though there are many different languages in the Universal Catholic Church, we are united by the same Spirit which makes us one no matter who we are or where we live…Here at Resurrection, even though we speak several different languages we are one community in Christ, in the one Spirit. It is the Spirit that unifies us. *Our new Church building is a great example of this unity as it took all of us together to get to this point. It will be all of us no matter who we are or which mass we go to who will be celebrating and worshipping in that magnificent space as one in the one Spirit. And it will take all of us united in the Spirit of Christ to complete the cost of the new building in the next few years to come. So keep those pledges coming!!
And it is the Spirit who gives different gifts to different individuals in the Body of Christ, which is the Church. *1 Cor 12 tells us, “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit, there are different forms of service but the same Lord, there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.” The Spirit of God gives different gifts to each of the baptized. Why? To build up the Body of Christ. Each of us has different gifts or talents which are given to us to benefit the Church. Are we using what we have been given for the benefit of others? And why doesn’t the Spirit give all the gifts to one person? Because then we wouldn’t need each other. Because each one has different gifts we need each other to be complete. As the scripture says, “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.” In other words, the human body has many parts, the eye, the hand, the leg. These parts working together make up a complete, fully functioning human body. In the same way, each member of the Church has been given different gifts and when each member uses their gifts the Church is a complete, fully functional, effective Body of Christ. Offer and use the gifts you have been given for the benefit of the Church: your talents, your time and your treasure…Just like the Jewish people would offer their first and their best in thanksgiving, we too are to offer our first and our best in thanksgiving for all the blessings God has bestowed upon us.
Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John, “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father…He will guide you to all truth.” The Advocate, the Spirit of God, will guide us to all truth because He is truth. But we must seek Him, we must be open to Him and allow Him to guide us to the truth. The Spirit wants to be the tour guide through our life. But we must allow Him to be. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John, “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink.” In other words, if you want this Spirit of truth in your life more powerfully, if you are thirsty for Him and need Him then ask for Him and He will be given to you.
Who wouldn’t want the Spirit more powerfully in their life? He is called the “Advocate” which means “helper, counselor, comforter, one who protects and defends.” What does this Advocate help us with? He helps us in many ways. He helps us by giving us the peace of Jesus. He helps us by enabling us to trust in the Father in all situations which gives us peace that surpasses all understanding. He speaks to us even in the midst of chaos, helping us get through even the most difficult times…He helps us with decisions large or small. The Spirit brings us the words of Jesus which transforms our minds and our hearts into the mind and heart of Christ. …The Spirit empowers us to do things that we never thought we could whether it is in ministry, at your job or at school. Do you think I could be up here without the Spirit? No way! It is the Advocate working in us and through us to do mighty things…And it is the Spirit working in us that helps us get through the mundane things of everyday life: within our marriage, within the family and all the things we must do within the family like getting along with each other, like forgiving, like housework & yardwork, like shopping for weekly supplies…The Spirit helps us at work, driving the streets and the freeway back and forth, so on and so on. Just like we need the Advocate with us to do great and wonderful things we also need Him with us to get through our day to day lives.
And my brothers and sisters, the Advocate helps us in the battle between the Spirit and the flesh. St. Paul tells us in his Letter to the Galatians, “For the flesh has desires against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, these are opposed to each other.” There is a constant battle raging within each of us: the battle between the flesh and the Spirit. The battle between doing what God wants and what our sinful nature wants. Doing what God wants leads to the fruits of the Spirit and eternal life but doing what our flesh wants leads to sin and eternal death. The more we ask for the Spirit, the more we rely on the Spirit, the more we are open and seek the Spirit, the more we are able to win the battle between flesh and Spirit. It’s like that old cartoon with the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. Which one will you allow to influence you more? It’s a constant every day battle. It will rage on until the day we die. But with the Spirit of Jesus within us we can and will have the victory!
In closing, the Advocate, the Spirit of God, the 3rd Person of the Trinity is a tremendous gift we can’t live without. He is unifying, empowering, transforming, and He is Truth. He is the strong driving wind in our sails and the fire in our hearts. He bestows gifts upon us to be used for the benefit of others. It is only with and through the Spirit that we can live the life of holiness and stewardship we are all called to through our baptism as individuals and as Church. Call upon the Spirit of the Living God every day of your life and He will be with you no matter what you face in this world and you will have the victory!
“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful & kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit & & they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.” Amen.