A Homily - Cycle C - 2012-2013
by Rev. Luke Dundon
First Reading - Acts 2:1-11
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
Second Reading - 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
Gospel - John 20:19-23
John wrote to show that Christ was
the Messiah, the Divine Son of God.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."
OK. Letís quiet down and . . . Listen. Can you hear him? Can you hear the Holy Spirit? . . . Hard to hear him? Yeah, Iíd say most of us would agree with you. Perhaps thatís why the Called and Gifted program last month was so fruitful. By the end of the Called and Gifted, people were on FIRE. I looked into their faces as they left by the end of the program, and they looked like they had been born again. So many had mentioned, ďI didnít realize that the Holy Spirit was working in MY life. I didnít realize that He had given little old ME unique and powerful gifts. I feel completely new!Ē Well, as a priest, I must say it is so COOL to see people discover who they really are . . .
Perhaps thatís how Adam felt when God first breathed eternal life into his body. A creation which can move and think and LOVE like God Himself. A creation which can LISTEN to God Himself. And now, on this Pentecost Morning, we remember that this living Spirit was sent AGAIN, to MOVE and make a NEW creation, a creation which is dynamic and FULL of life, a creation which continues to GROW and become more beautiful, a creation which heals and restores and builds, a creation which is now known as . . . the Church.
We celebrate today one of the most important Feasts of the Church, her very own birthday. And her biggest present is the Holy Spirit Himself. GOD IS HERE, AND HEíS MOVING. And weíve seen it. People have converted following our door-to-door visitation last fall. Folks have been healed through the intercessory prayer team. After receiving the Holy Spirit at Easter Vigil, our new Catholics in RCIA have become some of the most active members of the parish. Following their confirmation, young people have willingly stepped up to the plate in service to St. Philipís. The Holy Spirit IS ALIVE here at St. Philipís. Jesus says today, RECEIVE the Holy Spirit. In a few days our confirmandi will hear Bishop Loverde tell them, BE SEALED with the Holy Spirit. Jesus is still working, through His Church, which I now see before me. When you looked in the mirror this morning, did you SEE His divine flame in your own heart? Can you HEAR His voice within you right now?
The temptation to fight, the lie to overcome, is that weíre still alone, weíre still the OLD creation. We have our limitations, failures, sufferings. We might be tempted to think, oh, thatís great the Holy Spirit is alive and well, but I still have to deal with tensions at home. Or an illness. Or bills to pay. We might decide itís better to be cautiously pessimistic and hide like Adam did. Yeah. The apostles thought the same. They hid, they were afraid as well. They felt alone as well. UNTIL the Holy Spirit came. Who then FILLED them with love and joy. Who then GAVE them supernatural strength. Who then assured them of the certainty that they no longer had ANY reason to be afraid. For they were now members of the Church, and so their LIVES became ONE LIFE. The Life of Jesus. They could speak in tongues, because they were ONE with Him. They could heal, because they were ONE with Him. They could prophecy, because they were ONE . . . with Him. They could be SENT to share the good news, NOT as weak and flawed individuals, no Ė they had become ONE amazing, electrifying and energizing Church. And donít ever forget Ė SO ARE WE! As our Easter Season winds down, letís ask ourselves Ė have we recognized the Spirit in us, who makes us ONE with Jesus? Have we accepted this gift, have we accepted WHO WE ARE? And, once we have . . . are we ready to MOVE, and DO incredible things for God? Once we do, I guarantee it will feel like starting a brand new life, no matter what age we are at. The Holy Spirit has made us a new creation here at St. Philipís. We are now ONE body, partakers in each otherís gifts and blessings. Spend some time with Him who has given you this new life. HELP one another to listen to Him. Your growth will become my growth, and mine will be yours. We are truly BROTHERS and SISTERS in the most profound way. Holy Spirit, show your people that You LIVE IN THEM. . .