Pentecost Sunday

Acts. 2:1-11; I Cor. 12:3b-7, 12-13; Jn 20:19-23

Little Philip was spending the weekend with his grandmother after a particularly trying week in infant school. His grandmother decided to take him to the park on Saturday morning. It had been snowing all night and everything was beautiful. His grandmother commented, ‘Doesn’t it look like an artist painted this scenery?  Did you know God painted this just for you?’ ‘Yes, ‘replied Philip, ‘God did it and he did it left handed.’ This confused his grandmother so she asked him, ‘What makes you say God did this with his left hand?’ ‘Well, ‘said Philip, ‘we learned at Sunday School last week that Jesus sits on God’s right hand.

Dear friends! Last Sunday we celebrated the feast of Ascension. Today we celebrate the feast of the Pentecost. The Paschal mystery of the Passion, the Death, the Resurrection, and the Ascension of Jesus culminates in the sending of the Holy Spirit by the Father at the request of His Son on Jesus’ disciples. The feast also commemorates the official inauguration of the Christian Church by the apostolic preaching of St. Peter which resulted in the conversion of 3000 Jews to the Christian faith.  Pentecost is, thus, the official birthday of the Church. I ask you to pray to Jesus asking him to continue to pour the Holy Spirit out on our church and the church all over the world.

Pentecost is also the conclusion of the Easter Season.  We have already celebrated Jesus’ dying and His rising and His ascension.  But all of those powerful acts of salvation are irrelevant if they do not impact our lives.  Unless we can carry within us the effects of Jesus’ dying and rising, all the power and grace of that paschal mystery is wasted. Today on the feast of Pentecost we celebrate the truth that God has given us God’s own Spirit to unleash the power of Jesus’ resurrection in our lives.  Jesus breathes on the disciples in the gospel and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  It is God’s own Spirit that allows the effects of the resurrection to match our circumstances.

I have heard about, “The Fine Art of Doing Nothing”: The sign on the stage proclaimed: “The Motionless Man: Make Him Laugh. Win $100.” The temptation was irresistible. For three hours boys and girls, men and women, performed every antic and told every joke they knew. But Bill Fuqua, the Motionless Man, stood perfectly still. Fuqua is the Guinness Book of World Records champion at doing nothing. In fact, he appears so motionless during his routines at shopping malls and amusement parks that he is sometimes mistaken for a mannequin. When I heard about Bill Fuqua, “The Motionless Man,” he reminded me of a lot of churches I know—many congregations seem to have mastered the fine art of doing almost nothing.

Let us not master the Art of Doing Nothing after receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Instead let us put the Holy Spirit Lord into work first of all within our hearts and in our church community. We all know that the Holy Spirit Lord quietly works in us and through us every day behind the scenes in the basic activities of our lives and the lives of the people around us. He is there in all his fullness wherever people worship and pray in the name of Jesus. When we believe and trust in Jesus, we have that Faith through the Holy Spirit working in us and filling us. The Holy Spirit leads us to turn away from our sinfulness.

Further, He reassures us that we are still loved in spite of our sin and that Jesus died on a cross for just those moments when we rebel against God’s way. He confronts us and urges us to take a good look at ourselves and where we are heading, to make a U-turn, to leave the old behind and try something new. He’s not afraid to challenge us and stretch us to go and do things for Christ – things we have never done before or ever imagined ourselves doing. He’s the One who says to us, “Stop being so self-focused. Stop looking into yourself all the time and being depressed by what you see, or fool yourself into thinking that what you see in yourself is enough to get you through! Look up, look away, look to Jesus and let him turn your around; let him take control!”

Without the Holy Spirit we have no life in us, with the Holy Spirit we have the life of Jesus. Without the Holy Spirit we become closed in but with the Holy Spirit we reach out in mission to others. Without the Holy Spirit we return to the Upper Room in fear and anxiety but with the Holy Spirit we leave the Upper Room and witness to Jesus to the ends of the earth. Let us pray today for ourselves and the entire Church that we may all be renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit.