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THE SOLEMNITY OF PENTECOST

The Great Fifty Days has come to a close, culminating in a feast called Pentecost (Gr. Fiftieth). Its origins can be traced back to one of the great popular pilgrimages to Jerusalem called 'Shabout', a Jewish Festival of Weeks, 50 days after Passover (Deut. 16:16). Originally, a harvest celebration but later became associated with the giving of the covenant and the law on Mount Sinai. Early Christians recorded this event as the New Pentecost and gave it a new theme and meaning, that is, the powerful experience of God, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the community of the First Disciples in the inner room, the giving of the new law of the spirit (Rom. 8:2), the writing of the law on the heart (Jer. 31:31-34; 2 Cor 3:2-6).

Pentecost came at a time when the small band of timid disciples hiding behind closed doors in the upper room suddenly felt a loud noise like the rush of a mighty wind that filled the house. It is the Holy Spirit penetrating in the lives of frightened disciples. Then, tongues of fire appeared above their heads powerfully symbolizing spiritual transformation and made them speak in foreign languages. It is the Holy Spirit. Once timid, now bold. Once afraid, now fearless. The Spirit is alive!

Pentecost is a reset button. If we are facing a terrible crisis that started at the dawn of reformation, then, a miraculous outburst of the Spirit (un soplo de aire freso) to breath forth in and out of the church’s life will be a welcome surprise. We need now more than ever the driving wind to inspire the jaded, the exhausted, the frightened, the mediocre and the indifferent either due to the failure of the human institution as the case may be or the irresistible attraction of the secular forces. We have everything in our arsenal (teaching, tradition, manpower, pecking order, among others) as a start-up but there is no easy solution to the daunting tasks. Unless we allow the spirit to breath upon us, to give us courage and strength to lead, to help us figure things out, pursue changes and not be afraid of initiating well- intentioned reforms, all our efforts will be futile. If Pentecost were a reset button, then, we’d have to bring our forces together, slowly chant Veni Sancte Spiritus, wait for it, and let the rush envelope us. Anyone who’s hit rock bottom should go nowhere but come to the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit at Pentecost is an electrifying power that unites our theologies, binds the wounds inflicted (purposely or not), weaves our gifts and talents and welds us in the inner circle with God. It is a ruah that constantly transforms and renews the church and her tired members. It is a thunderous force/power that makes the church both as an institution and a community attractive again to those who find her irrelevant. As we engage the world either in the sharing of thoughts in social media or making our voices heard at peaceful protest, our demeanor must be marked by the inner beauty of our faith. The changes that took place in the parish is undeniably a work of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit gave birth to the church. We can hardly put a face on him and struggle to name him but he’s real. He is the gift of God that takes the place of Jesus here on earth. He is the wind that makes impossible things happen. We only make descriptions of the short verses recorded. He’s known only by the results, witnesses and testified by the numerous lives transformed and died for justice, goodness’ sake. We owe him all the success of church’s mission. The Holy Spirit is the breath of the eternal in the midst of a busy world and isolating society. The spirit gives life and animates us. The spirit is the fiery blast of God's nostrils that melts mountains and consumes the earth like brimstone.

The Holy Spirit is our guide who walks along with us and never leaves us behind. As a guide, he empowers us, fortifies us, strengthens us, and makes us ready for the long haul. He provides directions, gives advices, solicited or not. Before making any major decision, we take it to prayer. We offer it to the Lord. We drop by on Fridays for adoration. We attend masses after masses. We allow him- the spirit to turn our lives around. If you decide to leave your past life, that’s the spirit in you. If you decide to return to the church after decades of absence, it’s the spirit. We entrust to him our worries, job securities as well as the future of our children and wider society. The church is the people of God gathered to worship God in the eucharist celebrating the victory of the cross of Christ. That said, the church is not merely a building at a specified location and address. It's a place that conveys and exudes transcendence, that is, the power and presence of God. The church is not a social group or a circle of friends.

Acts details the famous episode "the Spirit came on the Disciples when they were all in one place together and united in prayer (1:14), a noise like a strong driving wind and the appearance of tongues as of fire that rested on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit so that they began to speak in different tongues, translated as other languages. Have you ever experienced the Holy Spirit taking over your life, feeling that strike at the  core your being?

The gifts of the Spirit are Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, Piety, Fortitude, Fear of the Lord. The fruits of the Spirit are Joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, long suffering, mildness, faith, modesty, contingency and chastity.

Follow the Spirit. Walk in the rhythm of the Spirit. Sing in the Spirit. Pray in the Spirit. be filled with the Spirit. Sow to the Spirit. Reap from the Spirit. Preserve the Unity of the Spirit. Be borne by the Spirit. Cling to the Spirit. Breathe in the Spirit and breathe him out. Drench yourself in the Spirit. Drink the Spirit and be drunk by him. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Tags: PENTECOST SUNDAY

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