for Sunday, June 5, 2022
It was a huge change. There was nothing subtle about it. They had been in
hiding, scared out of their wits. Jesus had been arrested. Rumors flew that the high
priests wanted Him crucified. The "Powers-that-be" wanted to send a message to all
who would dare challenge their authority. The message was received, loud and clear.
None of the disciples were around to witness the events of that Friday, the one we call
Good. None, that is, except John, as well as his mother, Mary, Mary Magdeline and a
few other of Jesus' closest friends. But now, fifty days later, the eleven remaining
disciples were publically proclaiming Jesus Christ, right there in the Temple area, right
where those who murdered Jesus could see them. "You cannot kill God's plan," they
said. "You couldn't even keep Jesus in the grave, for He rose and gave His Life to all
who believe in Him." The apostles who had been so afraid of suffering and dying, now
saw their own deaths as minor in comparison to their new life with Christ. And they all
would be put to death, all except, according to tradition, the only one of them who had
the courage to be at the foot of the cross, the apostle John.
It was a huge change. And people were listening. And joining. 3,000 people
chose Jesus Christ that first day the apostles proclaimed Him, that Pentecost Sunday.
What happened? How was it that those who feared for their lives now scoffed at
death? How was it that 3,000 people would jeopardize their own lives to join these
followers of Jesus? How could those simple men, fishermen mostly, move the hearts
of so many to Jesus Christ? How was is possible that these Eleven could suddenly be
so powerful spiritually? What happened?
The Holy Spirit happened. The Holy Spirit came upon the Eleven and Mary that
Pentecost Sunday, and then, through them came upon all who would choose Jesus
Christ. There was a tremendous power evidenced. People heard God speaking to
them in their own languages, even though the apostles spoke, most probably, in
Aramaic. The Holy Spirit was the Power. The Holy Spirit was God Himself
transforming people into the Body of Christ. The apostles began the mission of
evangelization, of bringing the world to the Gospel by invoking the Holy Spirit, the
Power of God.
We also can invoke the Holy Spirit, the Power of God. We can do this by virtue
of our sacrament of confirmation, our personal sharing in Pentecost. We can call upon
God to be present. And He will be present.
People long for the mysterious. People seek the mystical. The media feeds
into this desire through shows that present the mysterious domain of the dead. People
run to astrologers and mediums, shamans and gurus, hoping to be exposed to the
mystical. And, to paraphrase St. Augustine, they run hard, but in the wrong directions.
To find the mystical, people have merely to go to the disciples of the Lord. To
find the mystical, people have only to go to you, and to me. Jesus Christ has given us
His Spirit, His Power. We can call upon the Lord, and through the Power of the Holy
Spirit, He will be present.
What as awesome gift! Literally, awesome. We can make God present.
"Where two or three are gathered together in my name," He said, "I am there with
them." Wherever we are at prayer, Jesus is there. He gives us the power to call upon
Him. This Power is the Holy Spirit.
We need to remember this when we make our plans for our lives, or, perhaps,
watch them deteriorate. Colleges and careers, financial success or disaster, growing
relationships or dying relationships, all those areas of life that take up so much of our
time, so much of our energy, all those things that excite us, or depress us, everything,
everything is secondary to the Great Gift we received on Pentecost, the Gift of invoking
the Power of God, the Gift of the Holy Spirit. For rich or poor, in a crowd or just two or
three gathered in His Name, we can call upon the Spirit to send the Son to us, and
Jesus will be there, leading us to the Father.
We need to care for this power, and use it well. We need to nourish our ability
to call upon this Power. We need to stay close to Jesus Christ. For others are
depending upon us. Others need us to proclaim the Good News to them with our
words and our lives. And the Good News is this: Jesus Christ has transformed the
world. Life is beautiful, or as Bishop Fulton J. Sheen would say, "Life is worth living."
Life is worth living when it is lived with God.
How many days do you have left? How many days do I have left? None of us
know. But every day that remains must be days that we proclaim to the world that
Jesus lives and is among us. And thus we conclude today the Easter Season.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Acts 2.1-11
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12.3b-7, 12-13
Gospel: John 20.19-23
This material is used with permission of its author, Rev. Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino, Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL. Visit his
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