Acts 2:1-11 1Cor 12:3-7, 12-13 Jn 20:19-23
There was a boy riding on his bike outside a church. The priest saw him and told him to come into the church and the boy said,”…But they’ll steal my bike.” The priest explained how the Holy Spirit would take care of it, so they went inside. The priest showed the boy how to make the sign of the cross and told the boy to repeat it…”In the name of the Father, The Son…Amen” The priest said, “What about the Holy Spirit?” The boy replied, “It’s outside taking care of my bike!”
Dear friends! Great events often begin in small and hidden ways. Things which begin with a splash often go out of control, whereas those which begin quietly put down deep roots, grow steadily, and survive to produce fruit, fruit that lasts.
Today the Catholic Church contains close to one billion members – not to mention the millions of Christians belonging to other denominations. They are scattered all over the world, and come from every tribe and race and tongue. People who have been to Lourdes or Rome told me that they got the feeling of belonging to something great. They are proud to be Catholics. This is a wonderful experience. They could feel the connection.
We published our parish survey result. Most of us were surprised to see that out of 134 surveys received, only 3 families responded who were 40s. So many of you repeatedly asked the question where the young families in our church are and where are the youth and children? It’s all wonderful questions with great concern for our church community. Today as a community of believers we need to do something more than just asking those questions? It is easy to put the blame on somebody. On this feast day of Pentecost I invite to reflect what can you and I do to change.
Today is the birthday of the Church. How simply it all began. The church was born in frailty and weakness. It had no property, no buildings, no money. Its only resource was people, and there weren’t many of those. As they waited for the coming of the Spirit, all the followers of Jesus were able to fit into one room just around 120 of them just number of people who come here for every weekend Mass. They knew each other’s names. The Church was very small then. But they had spirit, and were united in prayer and charity. The Church is sustained, not by organizational structures and membership statistics, but by its prophets, martyrs and saints. We have 364 registered families in our parish. If you are willing, it’s possible to build our community in spirit united in prayer and charity. A community of faith, love and charity!
While it’s nice to belong to something big, it can be a drawback too. In fact, people are put off by the large. When an organization becomes big there is a loss of closeness, of intimacy, and of a sense of belonging. The individual tends to get lost, and may feel like a mere cog in a huge impersonal machine.
Church should never forget its humble origins. If it does, it will not value the importance of the small. We need to experience the Church as small. We need to belong to a specific community. I invite you to prayerfully consider being part of different church groups: Ushers, Greeters, Homebound Ministers, Altar Servers, Lectors, part of the youth group, KC members, Christian Service, Altar and Rosary society, Pastoral Council, Finance Council, Ed Commission, Adult faith formation, School Alumni, School Marketing Committee, a volunteer at Food pantry, Movie night etc. We can create many more such as 60+, ministry for the singles, widows and widowers.
By being part of any of one of these groups you will experience a sense of closeness, and of belonging. A sense of interdependence and of mutual service, such as Paul talks about (2nd Reading)
In this gathering, in this very church, this very day, we have all we need to experience what the apostles experienced – a group of disciples listening to the Word of God and receiving the broken bread in memory of Jesus. Let us the Holy Spirit Lord to help us. It is the Holy Spirit who binds us together and helps us to witness to Christ in the world. It is providential that Pentecost 2012 falls on Memorial Day. Pentecost Sunday underscores our Christian mission. Memorial Day reminds us of the sacrifice required to maintain freedom. And our first, most cherished liberty is religious freedom. As remember and pray for all veterans we have a mission to protect and maintain the religious freedom.