May 24, 2015 Pentecost Fr Jim Miller

Pentecost Sunday
Mass during the Day
May 24, 2015

Reading 1 Acts 2:1-11

Responsorial Psalm Ps 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34

R. (cf. 30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

Reading 2 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13

Gospel Jn 20:19-23

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Homily— May 23 & 24, 2015

            Growing up, Pentecost always meant a family reunion at Henry and Anna Miller’s across the street from St. Mary Catholic Church in Cascade, Iowa.   It was a time to spend with cousins that I did not see a lot and a wonderful meal.   This was the Luxembourg side of my ancestry. 

            Pentecost is the Jewish feast of harvest, 50 (pente) days after Passover, when the blessings of the Exodus from Egypt are harvested and celebrated.

            The Christian adaptation of this important liturgical feast reflects the same themes, as fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus, which for us has become the new Passover and the decisive Exodus of all God’s people—not just from historical slavery, but from sin and death.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit poured out on the church are the new harvest, empowering disciples to sow the word of God throughout the whole world.  The seven gifts are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. 

            In the Acts of the Apostles we hear about a noise coming from the sky like a strong driving wind that filled the house.   I think we just had a couple of days like that last Sunday and Monday!   There was the appearance of tongues as of fire which parted and came to rest on them and they began to speak different languages.   It is interesting that they did not all need to speak the same language.   Luke points out that the Spirit-filled disciples addressed the multitude in the languages spoken by each group.   If you can speak more than one language then you know if you want to communicate something profound, it is best said in your own tongue.            In the letter of St. Paul to the Galatians we are invited to live by the Spirit and not by gratifying the desires of the Body.   Living by the Spirit implies enjoying communion of heart and hands with God.   Communion with God is made visible by its fruits—by real behavioral results.  The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us.  If we find ourselves genuinely inclined to live in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, etc., we know that God’s grace is active in us.   Our job is to try and cooperate with God’s Spirit allowing the Spirit to move in and through us.

            We usually know that we are not guided by the Spirit after the fact.   It is important that we learn from our sins and mistakes.   If you find that your weakness is in drink or gambling or pornography or anger or consumerism or lies or judging others then you name them and confess them and strive to avoid those occasions that could jeopardize your soul.   The devil is always looking for opportunities to tempt and to test us.   Do not let your sins pull you down.   Keep positive.   God may not win all the “battles” in life but God does win the “war”!   Sin in our lives can slowly accumulate in our lives and block our spiritual connection to God like plaque can plug our blood vessels and lead to a heart attack.   A good confession cleans out our God connection and allows us to be more alert to the Holy Spirit in our lives.   Last week I took time to be with my spiritual director and to go to confession.   Afterwards I felt much more at peace with God and with myself.

            Jesus sends us the Advocate from the Father, the Spirit of truth, that will lead us to all truth.  The Advocate will help us to testify to God.   The promise of the Spirit is the greatest gift we could hope for:  It won’t give us infallibility, but it does assure us enough that we can pray confidently with Thomas Merton, “I will trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and the shadow of death.  I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”            Let us recognize the gifts that God has given us and open ourselves to the way the Holy Spirit can guide us to use our talents to further God’s kingdom on earth.   Each of us has gifts, and we never know when they are needed or how they affect the common good of the church and the world.  We need to be ready to experience the Holy Spirit at all times, both by receiving the gifts of others and by offering our gifts to others.  Listen, for the Holy Spirit always comes, and you should always be ready to respond to the call.

Pray with me)   Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.  And You shall renew the face of the earth.  O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord.  Amen.

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