Solemnity of Pentecost (C)
Today we celebrate an important event of the life of God in His Church: Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and on the people who gathered to listen to them, and they would see the world with the eyes of Jesus. It also brings to fulfillment the joy of the birth of the infant Jesus when the angels sang: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Lk 2:14).
On that first Pentecost, in the people’s confusion of what was happening, the Holy Spirit, in the form of tongues of fire, brought unity to language and culture. They heard the Apostles, who were Galileans, speak their own tongues, and they understood them well. The disciples preached ardently that Jesus was the Christ, brought repentance to the believers and baptized them, so that they could live the ways of Jesus in prayer and community.
The coming of the Holy Spirit is realized when people gather together in prayer and praise of God and acknowledge the presence of the author of life and of our dignity as sons of God:
– World youth days; the welcoming and installation of our Holy Father, the Pope; gathering for world days of prayer;
– Our Sunday Masses, and families that gather in prayer and in faith;
– When world leaders, public officials and representatives gather to stop wars and to bring about development, peace and justice;
– When people promote the culture of life and rally against legalized medical procedures that stifle the life of the unborn and the weak;
– When suffering comes to our families and all we can do is trust in God; and many more.
In situations like these, the Holy Spirit works to bring to His people unity, peace and love, the Word of God becomes incarnate in cultures and languages, and the Church is alive in the hearts of believers.
When Jesus was about to leave this world, the disciples were confused and sad, but the Lord promised to send them the Advocate and the Consoler, who would teach them what they needed and remind them of what He taught them. Even then, immediately after the Ascension, the disciples “returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God” (Lk 24:52-53), for they had been promised the gift of the Father, the Holy Spirit, so they could preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth and make disciples of all nations.
As Advocate, the Holy Spirit acts in the name of Jesus in favor of the faithful whom He loves. As consoler He accompanies the faithful, especially in times of difficulty, suffering and loneliness, as well as in times of success and joy. The Holy Spirit appears in guises which point us to Jesus. He leads us to the Church to learn His teachings, His life and His ways. He makes us children of the Father, just as He overshadowed Mary, so that She could bear and deliver Jesus to the world. St. Paul says, “As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God” (Gal 4:6-7). Anything or anyone who does not lead us to Jesus is not of the Holy Spirit, but an advocate of the devil. The devil even uses the words of God to lure us to his web of deception. Remember the temptations of Jesus in the desert. The devil leads us to love satisfaction and convenience, fame and glory, riches and power. But the Holy Spirit, in the midst of the dissatisfaction and ignominy of the cross, suffering, inconveniences and poverty, leads us always to the joy of being with Jesus, our wisdom, our strength and our life. Pope Benedict XVI, in his homily on Ascension Sunday (2010) said: The Lord draws the gaze of the Apostles, our gaze, to show how we should travel the good road during life on earth. Nevertheless, he remains in the plot of human history, he is near to each of us and guides our Christian path: He is the companion of those who are persecuted because of their faith, he is in the heart of those who are marginalized, he is present in those to whom the right to life is denied. We can hear, see and touch the Lord Jesus in the Church, especially through the Word and the sacraments” (zenit.org/article-29272).
As Christians we listen to and follow Jesus, through Mary and the Holy Spirit. Where there is a Christian, there is hope, a lively hope to be with God. We celebrate the Eucharist for this is our hope: to be transformed into the life of the Blessed Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. So we prayed in the Responsorial Psalm: Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. To be worthy of Jesus and His Kingdom, we also pray before receiving Holy Communion: Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof, but say the word and my soul shall be healed.
Let the Holy Spirit move us to be instruments of unity among people of different cultures and interests. Let Him transform and fill us with wisdom to live upright and blessed life and to see the the world with the eyes of Christ.