Pentecost, Year B – Homily

Pentecost, Year B
Vigil Readings
Genesis 11:1-9
Romans 8:22-27
John 7:37-39

Acts of the Apostles 2:1-1
1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
John 20:19-23
May 24, 2015

On Monday we will celebrate an important national holiday, Memorial Day.  This holiday has a local connection in its origins as many credit Waterloo, NY as the first place to celebrate this holiday.  It is a day where we honor those who have given their lives in service for our country.

War is not good and we must always strive to settle disputes by peaceful means but when attacked we give thanks for those who have given their lives to protect us.

In our region Memorial Day has come to be unofficial start to the summer season.  The days have become warmer and that makes us happy.  With the warm weather coming Memorial Day becomes the weekend the day to put out the flower urns at cemeteries on our loved ones graves.  We will be celebrating Mass at Calvary Cemetery on Monday morning.

As we think about our loved ones who have died, we do so knowing the gift of eternal life.  Fifty days ago we celebrated Easter Sunday, the day that Jesus rose from the dead, showing us eternal life.  Before He could rise, He first died for us on the Cross.  As Jesus said, no one has greater love than to lay down one’s lives for one’s friends.

We have been celebrating Easter for fifty days but with our celebration this weekend, we end our Easter season.  However, it is not our celebration of Memorial Day that ends our Easter season.

Today we are here to celebrate Pentecost that reveals the beginning of the Church.

We can experience new beginnings throughout our lives.  This weekend marks graduation weekend at Cornell.  Other colleges, like Ithaca, have already celebrated graduation.  Graduation can be a new beginning as the students end one phase of their lives to begin another.

Marriage can be a new beginning.  Starting a new or different job.

Pentecost changes our spiritual life as a people.  Before Pentecost, people had become divided by their sins.  We can think here of the story of the Tower of Babel. The people tried to build a tower to make a name for themselves.  They say as much themselves.  This is pride and pride is a sin.  With sin comes consequences.  The people are scattered.

Pentecost changes that.  We are different people from different languages who look different and work in different jobs and have different talents but through the grace of the Holy Spirit we are united as one Church.

The Holy Spirit first came upon the disciples at Pentecost as a strong driving wind and tongues of fire.  The wind symbolizes how God breathes new life into us.  The fire speaks of how we are to be alive and on fire with our faith.  The red vestments and banners indicate the fire of the Holy Spirit that has come upon us individually in our baptism.

We can see the people coming at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit enables the crowds to each person speaking in their own language.

Last week we heard Jesus pray that we all be one just as the Father and He are one.  Our unity comes through the Holy Spirit.  We profess this unity in our Creed when we say “I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.”  We see the oneness in the way we celebrate our Mass in the Catholic Church.  No matter what Catholic Church you go to in the world for Sunday Mass, you hear the same prayers and same readings.  They are spoken in different languages but have the same meaning and share the same faith.

Pentecost has been called the birth of the Church.  So, it is a good time to reflect on what it means to be part of the Catholic Church.  On Tuesday night I will be completely my series We Profess, We Believe on the Creed.  This week a significant part of the presentation will focus on what it means for us to say, “I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.”

What does it mean for you?

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