Pentecost Sunday – 2019

Pentecost Sunday – 2019

PentC19.   Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11.  Here the account is of the astounding scene of Pentecost and the events that flowed from it.  “They were all filled with Holy Spirit.” That gave them the gift to proclaim “the mighty acts of God” and those who were listening heard them in their own tongue which were many.  The almighty God demonstrated his might with filling the room with “a noise like a strong driving wind” and the Holy Spirit “appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.”  In Matthew 3:11 John the Baptist says that the Messiah will baptize with the Holy Spirit and a fire that will burn up the chaff, i.e. those who refuse to repent.  In this Pentecost passage, however, I think that the fire that Holy Spirit brings to the Apostles and Mary will be an intensity of enthusiasm to preach the good news of Jesus Christ, an intensity that this world cannot quench.  Genesis 1:2b relates “a mighty wind that swept over the waters.  I think that in that passage as well as the one for Pentecost the mighty wind signals the entry of the almighty God on to the scene.

1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13.   This passage begins, “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”  As I understand it, Paul is virtually saying the same thing Jesus says in John 15:5c, “Without me you can do nothing” (good).  The Spirit uses us as his visible instruments to do his good works in this world, each of us in various and sundry ways.  “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”  In doing our assigned part together we build the one church through the work of the Spirit in us, who enables us to function as one coordinated entity for good of all, unity in diversity.  Jesus says in John 17:22: “I have given then the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one.”

Romans 8:8-17.    “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”  According to biology, human beings are classified as the animal homo sapiens.  Animal life has a beginning and an end where it rots and the remains go back into the soil.  Spiritual life has a beginning but no end.  For each one of us, our lives are a journey from the beginning to the end either by choosing to live the animal life by pleasing our bodies, i.e. to live according to the flesh and rejecting what God wants of us, or to choose to live the spiritual life by pleasing only God.  Those who daily choose to have the Spirit dwell in them receive the spiritual life from him and are led by him to become children of God through the power of the Spirit.  As children of God, we become “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”  By choosing Christ we alienate ourselves from the world, which will reject and even punish us for making that decision.

John 20:19-23.  After the resurrection, Jesus appears to the disciples to commission them to preach the gospel, saying, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Then “he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.’”  First he gives them Holy Spirit and then the power to forgive sins.  When they went out to preach the gospel, they brought with them the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Forgiving sins was a power that only God could exercise prior to this. Now the Holy Spirit makes them the instruments of his forgiveness so that the converts to Christianity could have the Spirit dwell within them.

John 14:15-16, 23b-26.  Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give another Advocate to be with you always.”  To have God as our God we must love him with the love he gives us and obey his Will because his Will is love.  Jesus said, “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”  The Apostles and all of us who teach the faith throughout the ages will be informed and guided by the Holy Spirit so that we will not stray from the truth.  The Catholic Church and its officials, the Bible, the holy buildings and books, the sacraments are instruments of the Spirit to move us day by day on the road to the heaven.  We have God the Holy Spirit as the insurance from God the Father and Son to keep faithful and enriched for the work that God wants accomplished on earth.