Pentecost Sunday

Pentecost Sunday Year – A – 14

Acts 2:1-11; 1Cor 12:3-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23

A priest was once asked by a doctor why he preached the existence of the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. The doctor again asked: “Do you ever see the Holy Spirit? Do you ever hear the Holy Spirit?” The priest answered, “No”. The doctor continued: “Do you ever taste the Holy Spirit? Do you ever smell the Holy Spirit?

To all of these questions, the doctors received a ‘No” answer. But when the doctor asked: “Do you ever feel the Holy Spirit?” The priest replied: “Yes, indeed.” “Well,” said the doctor, “There are four of the five senses against you, Father. So I doubt that there is a Holy Spirit.” Then it was the turn of the priest to ask. “You are a doctor of medicine,” “It is your business to treat pains.

Did you ever see, hear, taste or smell a pain?” asked the priest. “No,” answered the doctor. “Do you feel the pain,” followed the priest. “Yes, I did,” said the doctor. “There are four senses against you. Yet you know and I know that there is pain. By the same proof, I know that the Holy Spirit exists,” continued the priest.

For each one of us who are here we do believe that the Holy Spirit exists because we feel His presence in us. Even if we do not see, hear, taste or smell the Holy Spirit, we do believe His existence. It is because “for those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible,”

Today we are celebrating the Feast of the Pentecost. Pentecost is the day where we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since today is the feast of the coming of the Holy Spirit to apostles and to us too, let us talk about the Holy Spirit in order to have a better understanding of this Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

First, the Holy Spirit is Holy; of course, He is God like the Father and the Son. The Third Divine Person of the Blessed Trinity sent to the world by the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit now guides the church and continues the works and teachings of Jesus without changing them. He is the Sanctifier of the church. Second, the Holy Spirit comes to us first at the moment of our baptism, more fully at our confirmation.

He infuses in us together with sanctifying grace and the three theological virtues of faith, hope and love. He gave to us His seven gifts of: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. Also, this Holy Spirit gave to us the twelve fruits of these seven gifts, namely: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, forbearance, meekness, fidelity, modesty, continence and chastity (Gal 5:16-25).

Without the Holy Spirit, nobody can believe or hope and nobody can repent of his/her sins. Third, the Holy Spirit is Love made Person. We know that all love comes from God. We also need to know the role of the Holy Spirit in our individual lives. The role of the Holy Spirit in Christian life:

As an indwelling God, He makes us His Living Temples (ICor.3:16). As a strengthening God, He strengthens us in our fight against temptations and in our mission of bearing witness to Christ by transparent Christian lives. As a sanctifying God, He makes us holy through the sacraments:

He makes us children of God and heirs of heaven through Baptism. He makes us temples of God, warriors and defenders of faith, through Confirmation. He enables us to be reconciled to God by pardoning our sins through Reconciliation. He gives us spiritual nourishment via the Holy Eucharist by converting bread and wine into Jesus’ body and blood through Epiclesis.

As a teaching and guiding God, He clarifies and constantly reminds us of Christ’s teachings. As a listening and talking God, He listens to our prayers and enables us to pray, and He speaks to us mainly through the Bible. As a giver of gifts, He gives us His gifts, fruits and charisms.

Anyone who has ever looked into a grave will know how logical it is to see it as a dead end the extinction of all hope, the end of the story. But our faith is deeper than logic and it looks into the empty tomb of Christ with joy, seeing it as the beginning of hope, not the end of hope. It is the beginning not the end of the story. Because of the empty tomb there are no dead ends for a Christian.

The disciples had locked themselves in “for fear of the Jews.” They had gathered themselves into a kind of tomb. Perhaps they thought that their future would be just this: to recall and cherish their memories of Jesus within this little circle. But suddenly Jesus appeared among them. He went down into their tomb, as the story says he descended into Hades to release the dead from their past and to bring them out into the light of the Resurrection.

He would not let these disciples enter an early Hades. He empowered them with the Spirit. Now Jesus breathed the Spirit into these disciples as God breathed into Adam the breath of life, so, making them a new people. In the power of the Spirit they left their narrow dungeon and preached the good news of Jesus to “Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia …” (Acts 2:9-11); in other words they preached to the whole world.

What is the life message for us today? We need to permit the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives: May be by constantly remembering His holy presence and behaving well, or may be by praying for His daily anointing so that we may fight against our temptations and control our evil tendencies, evil habits and addictions.

May be by asking His daily assistance to pray, listening to God through meditative Bible reading and talking to Him or may be by asking the help of the Holy Spirit to do good for others and to be reconciled to God and others every day. As Saint Paul exhorts us, “Walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16, 25).

 

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