Sunday, June 04, 2006

Pentecost Sunday

JMJ+D

The Difference the Holy Spirit Makes

Fifty-three days ago, the apostles were all gathered together in the Upper Room. Jesus washed their feet and instructed them about true service. He gave them his body and blood for the first time. He ordained them priests so that through them, He could give us that same body and blood. He prayed for them to His Father, prayed that they might be one, that the Father would protect them from the Evil one, that they might be consecrated in the truth, and that all those who would hear the Gospel through their lips might be one, too. But what happened when they left the room? They all went out and abandoned the Lord — right after Mass, right after receiving the Lord Jesus within, right after their priestly ordination! Judas sold Jesus, valuing him less than thirty pieces of silver. All eleven apostles ran away from the garden terrified. Peter, for whom the Lord had prayed personally, denied even knowing Jesus. All but St. John were still hiding the next day as Love personified was being tortured and killed upon a Cross. Jesus had prepared them for three years about what would happen to Him and what they were called to do, but none of that preparation, none of Jesus' prayers, not even the sacrament of the Eucharist, sufficed to keep them faithful. Something was missing.

Today we see the Apostles return to the same Upper Room. Jesus has ascended to heaven, and so the apostles huddle around his mother for nine days to learn from her about Jesus, to learn from her how to pray, to learn from her how to say yes to God. This time they leave the Upper Room and begin to preach the Gospel fearlessly. Three thousand people were converted that first day. The same apostles who had scattered like frightened children in the Garden were now gathering God's children together for Christ. The same Peter who denied even knowing Jesus in order to keep himself warm by the courtyard fire, was now on fire confessing that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, the Son of the Living God. The disciples who were too ashamed to appear at the foot of the Cross now boldly and proudly proclaimed God's love seen by Christ's death on that Cross. What was different? Surely Mary's example had helped them. Doubtless the resurrection of Jesus from the dead had filled them with joy and given them a certain confidence. But what could have made these people turn from chickens to shepherds, from cowards to willing martyrs, so soon? The answer is what and whom we celebrate today: the Holy Spirit.

On Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Spirit worked a miracle in each of the apostles, and through them, in the whole Church. As the apostles were huddled together around Mary in the Upper Room fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead, suddenly from heaven there was the sound like the rush of a driving wind that filled the entire upper room. Tongues of fire came down and rested upon each of them and all were filled with the Holy Spirit. THIS was the difference. They received the Holy Spirit's help boldly to proclaim Jesus. The Holy Spirit came down upon them as tongues of fire — tongues because they were to speak, fire because they were to speak with the passion of burning love. And they responded. Jesus had promised that the Holy Spirit he would send would teach them all things, lead them to all truth, remind them of everything he had taught them, and prove the world wrong about sin, holiness and judgment. Then, moved by the Holy Spirit, they began to fulfill this mission. The Acts of the Apostles had begun.

Read more here of Fr. Landry's homily.

2 Comments:

Blogger Carmel said...

A blessed pentecost sunday to you!

4:39 PM  
Blogger Saint Peter's helpers said...

Thank you Carmel and I hope you are having a blessed one too!

11:01 PM  

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