Pentecost Sunday – Mass during the Day, May 23
We Are Each Called to Live the Gifts with Which You and I Have Been Blessed by the Holy Spirit, Bringing God’s Love to the World Around Us, Sharing Our Varied Gifts and Talents with One Another so that We May begin to Truly Build Up the Body of Christ Here on Earth.
“Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.” – the antiphon which we read from today’s Responsorial Psalm – words which speak to us of this great Solemnity of Pentecost which we celebrate today.
Today is the culmination of the Easter Season, for it has been fifty days since the glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! And today commemorates the birth of the Church through the special indwelling of the Holy Spirit upon our Blessed Mother and our Lord’s disciples in that Upper Room in the form of flaming tongues of fire!
I am aware that this meditation may seem slightly longer than usual, but today we celebrate the beginning of our Church, the day in which the Apostles began to truly live the mission Jesus had given them before His Ascension into Heaven, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
And today, you and I also celebrate the fulfillment of our Lord’s promise to each of us, for which we give our sincerest thanksgiving and most heartfelt gratitude for His special Gift from God – His Holy Spirit, who has been given to us – who enlightens us to God’s Truth, who strengthens us to live this Truth in our daily lives.
And when we freely embrace this Truth and make it our own, He sanctifies us with His grace, for this faith which fills our hearts gives us a joy and a serenity which the world cannot give, for it is truly a gift from a Most Loving and Most Merciful God!
If we truly reflect today upon the meaning of Pentecost, this Solemnity is all of which I have just described – and so much more!
It was many years ago when a young man had spoken to me about the many trials and tribulations he had experienced as a youth growing up in an oftentimes hostile and abusive family environment – an experience which left him feeling very weak and alone inside.
He felt that no one understood him as a person; no one took the time to show genuine love and concern for his emotional and physical safety and welfare, much less his spiritual well-being.
He felt totally alone in a world which he saw as cruel and unkind; until, one day, he felt what he could only describe as an external force gently consoling and guiding him with an indescribable love – feelings and emotions which were new to him, feelings which he had never truly felt before, especially to the degree in which he was now experiencing them!
It was as though God literally went out and sought His lost sheep, and placed this young lamb, abused and wounded, upon His shoulders and carried him back to be reunited with His flock! This young man, for the first time in his life, felt the overwhelming presence of God’s Divine Love and Mercy through the grace and special indwelling of the Holy Spirit!
Today, many years later, this person is, with the help of God’s grace, an active member of his faith with a loving and supportive wife and children.
This is just one story amidst a countless number of untold stories which unfold each and every day – stories of one’s life’s journey lived through this vale of tears in which we all exist and experience in our own way – stories about how the long reach of God’s Infinite Love, stories about how the Divine Spirit of Eternal Truth reaches out, grabs hold of and affects the lives of His children in a wonderfully positive and meaningful way.
Each one of us, both you and I, regardless of our personal faith persuasion, are truly sons and daughters of our Eternal and Heavenly Father; we are truly brothers and sisters in Christ, all united under the one umbrella of faith and love through the Holy Spirit.
And this same Spirit, about whom we celebrate today, reaches out and touches our lives in so many different and diverse ways, calling each of us into that profoundly intimate and loving relationship which God wishes to have with each and every one of us. And within this relationship, God calls us to become the extension of Himself in our relationships with each other.
Paul tells us in our Second Reading today, “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”
Within our faith environment, we find many different ministries, filled with many good and hard-working individuals, to bring the love of Christ to those who are in most need – ministries which feed and clothe the poor, catechize our youth, ministries which reach out to the deaf and disabled, to those imprisoned and homeless, grief ministries which attend to those who have just experienced the loss of a loved one – and the list is almost endless, for it is as long as the needs are great!
The reason I bring all of this to our attention is because of what today is all about – empowerment – empowerment through the workings and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within each and every one of us!
And it is this theme of empowerment – the giving of special gifts – which all began on that special day of Pentecost in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit came to our Lord’s chosen disciples, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, “And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind and it filled the entire house.”
Our First Reading presents us with this amazing account of how the Apostles were infused with enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, strengthening and empowering them to proclaim the fullness of God’s Truth.
These timid followers of Jesus Christ were no longer cowering in the shadows, as they had been doing since Jesus’ death on Calvary, but became emboldened witnesses to the Word made Flesh, so as to become true pillars upon which our Church was to be founded.
And Saint Paul is telling us today in his Letter that, by virtue of our Baptism in Christ, we, as members of Christ’s Church, are empowered by this “same Spirit” with unique and special gifts to build up the Body of Christ.
For though we are many in numbers, we are but one in Christ Himself, and it is through the Spirit working in each of us, and the gifts with which He has blessed us, that we “…renew the face of the earth” as we read in today’s psalm.
And in our Gospel for today, we find Jesus, after His Resurrection, commending His Apostles to evangelize His Name and all that He has taught them with the words, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And this is exactly what each and every one of us, by virtue of our Baptism in Christ Jesus, are called to become – His disciples in the world which we live today.
By virtue of our Baptism, we are called to live the gifts with which you and I have been blessed, gifts imbued within us by the Holy Spirit, in order to bring God’s Love to the world around us. It is through each of us sharing our varied gifts and talents with one another that we begin to truly build up the Body of Christ here on Earth.
Living our faith today – practicing our faith in a culture which oftentimes shows disdain for Divine Truth – means hearing the words of our Lord and keeping them. And we do this through the guidance and strengthening of His Spirit.
Jesus once said, “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.” And He also said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit…”
Jesus, out of His unfathomable and indescribable Love for you and me, asks that each of us becomes a flowering and fruitful part of this growing Vine, giving witness to God’s Light in the world around us.
And we become this through the way we live our faith – all through the workings of His Spirit within and through us. Each and every one of us is called by God to be faithful, to become that fruitful branch.
May you and I open our hearts to His Spirit of Truth, so that we may become His disciples in the way we live our lives in today’s world. May we become empowered by His Spirit of Love by becoming all that He needs us to be for the sake of the Body of Christ – for the sake of each other’s personal salvation.
As Saint Paul says, we are many, but together we are “one body” in Christ. Let us, together, as faithful children of God, attend to the needs of His Body here on Earth.
It is the Spirit who gives us the grace necessary to accomplish this. And it is the Spirit who assists us at every moment of our daily lives here on this side of the eternal.
May each of us humble ourselves and open our hearts to His indwelling of Love and Divine Truth, together with the gifts with which He wishes to bless us, today and always!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “When you send forth your spirit, [all living things] are created, and you renew the face of the earth.” (Psalm 104:30)
- “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
- “To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.” (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)
- “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13a)
- “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46)
- “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit…” (John 15:5abc)
- “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth…” (John 14:16-17a)
- “…the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27)
- “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name – he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” (John 14:26)
- “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20a)
- “…the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:5)
Prayer for the Day
“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Truth and of Light,Saint Maria Faustina (Diary, 1411)
Dwell ever in my soul by Your Divine grace.
May Your breath dissipate the darkness,
And in this light may good deeds be multiplied.
“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Love and of Mercy,
Who pour the balm of trust into my heart,
Your grace confirms my soul in good,
Giving it the invincible power of constancy.
“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Peace and of Joy,
You invigorate my thirsting heart
And pour into it the living fountain of God’s Love,
Making it intrepid for battle.
“O Divine Spirit, my soul’s most welcome Guest,
For my part, I want to remain faithful to You;
Both in days of joy and in the agony of suffering,
I want always, O Spirit of God, to live in Your Presence.
“O Divine Spirit, who pervade my whole being
And give me to know Your Divine Triune Life,
And lead me into the mystery of Your Divine Being,
Initiating me into Your Divine Essence,
Thus, united to You, I will live a life without end.” Amen.