Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pentecost: The Holy Spirit Empowers Us

Today we celebrate Pentecost or the day when the Catholic Church was officially born in the public. In the first reading, we read the account of this coming of the Holy Spirit. The Blessed Virgin Mother Mary and the Apostles gathered in an upper room and prayed for 9 days (Acts 1:14).

They then received the Holy Spirit who descended upon them as tongues of fire. Each received the gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as the gift of tongues so that people could understand them in their native language as they preached the Gospel of Christ. This ability to communicate in various languages while speaking only one is connected to the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. The people of Babel were ambitious, never thinking of God, only themselves.

Like today, they place science and technology as means to give humankind a sense of self-divinity. We can split atoms, go to the moon, collide protons, clone animals, land space crafts on comets, pass laws redefining gender as well as marriage and immediately we think we are gods. The arrogance of the people of Babel brought God to confuse their language. Their sins united them, so to speak. The confusion of their tongue humbled them and delayed any advancements they were planning.  However, on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit gave the Blessed Mother and the Apostles the gifts of tongues allowing them to once again speak in one language that was intelligible to everyone else but with the message of Christ, not one like those of Babel who were self-centered humanists.

Pentecost means the 'fiftieth day' and was the day on which the 'Feast of Weeks' or 'Shevout' was celebrated.  On this day, all Jews recalled the day the Commandments were given to Moses 50 days after their Exodus from Egypt (Leviticus 23:15-21, Deuteronomy 16:9-11).  There was a big harvest on this day. Jesus had promised the Holy Spirit to the Apostles (Luke 24:49).  He told them that the Helper or Paraclete would come to them reminding them of all He has taught them and will guide them in Truth (John 14:15-31).

These are important verses that are ignored by our separated brethren who often claim that the Catholic Church is corrupt and apostate.  In America's infancy, groups such as the Finneyites rose up preaching a form of "primitivism," or what they called a return to the "original Christianity."  We see many of their sects today such as the Baptists, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Methodists, Evangelicals, Mormons, Adventists and so on.  Anyone who believes that Christ's Catholic Church became corrupt is basically calling Jesus a liar.  If Jesus indeed promised that the Spirit would guide the Church in Truth, how can it become corrupt?  How can the Church fall away from Christ?  This is a misconception our separated friends must really meditate on.  They must cast away that ignorant rhetoric from the harsh anti-Catholicism that existed in the past - post-reformation and into America's infancy.

It is the Holy Spirit who gave life to the universe, the earth and man (Genesis 1:2, Genesis 2:7).  The Spirit will renew the face of the Earth as we read in today's Psalm.  It is via this Spirit that we can profess faith in Jesus as Lord as the second reading (first option from (1 COR 12:3B-7, 12-13) tells us. This Spirit give us the gifts necessary for us to spread the Gospel to others and grow in the Gospel internally. We must not fight the Holy Spirit, but let Him transform us. We must be holy and not live in the flesh because it does not please God as we read in the second option from Romans 8:8-17.  Today, the sins of the flesh are rampant. Not only is the gift of sex and the body abused, but also humanity is justifying all kinds of vices in the name of freedom and identity.  Sins of the flesh push the Spirit away. The Holy Spirit likes a clean temple, not a dirty one, so to speak. Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Premarital sex, masturbation, gay sexual activities, using sex toys and what not are contrary to the Spirit. We were meant for joy, not pleasures that do not satiate and become addictive. Everything in the media today is sexualized. Kids are brainwashed from an early age to seek their identity in their sexuality. While sexuality is a part of us, it is not us. It is not the ends to our existence on this planet. Music is now audio pornography with lyrics speaking of sex, demeaning women and promoting vices. This music is accompanied by dances that are geared towards mimicking sexual motions during intercourse.  This pushes away God's spirit from our lives.  

Lastly, in the Gospel, both options tell us of Christ's promise of this Helper, the Holy Spirit. We need this helper today more than ever. Our Church is being attacked from within and without. Many among us have lost our way, even among the clergy.  Churches are closing, people are leaving the faith. Catholics are fighting with Catholics.  A culture of death, sexual confusion and egoism is on the rise.  Men can now use the ladies room and vice versa.  The world seems to have gone to hell, so to speak. We must ask the Holy Spirit to come to us and renew us so that we can combat the evils in the world which come from the father of lies (John 8:44, Ephesians 6:12). The Spirit will come when we are united in prayer.  In this Holy Spirit, we must go out and proclaim Christ in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).  We all know that Christ and His Gospel are extremely out of season in our day, nevertheless, we must be courageous because God's Spirit which was given to us is not a pusillanimous or timid Spirit  (2 Timothy 1:7).  We may not have the 'eye of the tiger,' but we have the Holy Spirit and the world will hear us roar just like on the day of Pentecost.


Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to come once again and renew the Catholic Church and the world.
Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to rid the Church of scandals; to rid the Church of her Judas' who continue to betray Jesus.
Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to renew our faith and to restore or bring the gift of faith to those who lost it or never bothered with it.
Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to tell us what to do in these trying times.  To instruct us how to confront with love and reason the errors of today such as Relativism, Atheism, Secularism, Homosexual behavior, the distortion of Marriage, the selfishness and ego of Feminism, Indifferentism, Personhood distortion and attack on life, and gender confusion.

Go out there in the Holy Spirit and Jesus' name, spread the Good News.  The Holy Spirit is with you!


Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love, sent 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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Readings:  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051516-pentecost-day.cfm


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