A MINI-HOMILY FOR PENTECOST SUNDAY
It was not a surprise. The Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament, referred to it often. Here are just a few references. In the very first book, Genesis, we read that the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. Then we read that it was the breath of God that gave life to Adam.
It was the One who spoke through the prophets. It was the One of whom Jeremiah spoke: "His word is in my heart like a fire" (20.9). The prophet Micah said, "I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord" (3.8). It was-and is-the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Before He ascended into heaven, Jesus promised His disciples an Advocate who would deepen their understanding of Him and empower them to bring His Gospel to others.
So, they gathered in that Upper Room, the same room where they had celebrated the Last Supper, and they prayed--and they waited. Then, on Pentecost Sunday they received the Holy Spirit, the signs of the Spirit's presence as He descended upon each of them being the strong wind in the closed room and the tongues of fire over each of them. On that occasion, they became the Church.
We use the term "Church" in several ways, referring, for example, to Catholicism, to our particular Parish, or to the actual building where we gather to pray. But the deepest meaning of Church is: the People of God formed by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. Church is who we are! Each of us and all of us are the Church. And how privileged we are to be able to bring who we are to the world-to proclaim with our lives Jesus, His Gospel, and the eternal life He won for us! Guided by the Holy Spirit, we nourish our union with Jesus through a spiritual life that incorporates daily prayer, Sunday Mass, Holy Scripture, and the Sacraments.
So we pray; we live moral lives; we recognize the presence of Jesus in those who are hurting; and we joyfully proclaim with our lives, "Come and join us in the Body of Christ. Come, and be Church." This is the message of Pentecost!yers.