Pentecost Sunday
During the day

May 20, 2018 Cycle B
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E.

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In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Today we are celebrating Pentecost Sunday. We are celebrating the birthday of the faith and of the Church. The miracle of the Pentecost is the foundational event of the Christian community, the beginning of evangelization.

The Holy Spirit is the secret force, energy and soul of the Church.

Last week, I was surprised by what the Pope said to the Italian bishops. He drew attention to the need to return to the essential aspects of Christian life in order to relaunch evangelization, as follows: “At a time in which God has, for many people, become the great Unknown and Jesus is simply an important figure of the past, we cannot relaunch missionary activity without renewing the quality of our own faith and prayer. [...] We will not be able to win mankind to the Gospel unless we ourselves first return to a profound experience of God” (Benedict XVI, Address to the Participants in the 64th General Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference, May 24, 2012).

These words can also be applied to ourselves. The Holy Spirit comes to help us renew our relationship with God, to make us understand Jesus as someone who is alive in his Church, as a real presence in our lives.

To have an experience of God means to experience the fruits of the Holy Spirit. In the second reading, Saint Paul says: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22–23). The gift of the Holy Spirit opens our minds and hearts to God, leading us to understand that the accomplishment of God’s will is what makes us truly free.

The world in which we live challenges the authenticity of our faith. We need to be conversant with the essential contents of our faith and cultivate our prayer life.

Sometimes we can feel fatigued in our faith and a lack of enthusiasm for belonging to the Church. In these moments, it seems that to be a Christian is a matter of rites and commandments and that our happiness is elsewhere, perhaps in what Saint Paul calls the “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19). In certain moments, we can have a sense of déjà vu about religion, when God seems distant from our interests.

When we have these kinds of feelings, it means that someone is missing. Who is missing? The Holy Spirit! Fatigue in our faith indicates that our Christian life is only a formality. This can happen in individuals but also in the community.

The Holy Spirit is surprise, unforeseen, newness, light, color and harmony, able to renew everyone and everything.

The Holy Spirit is always present as an inexhaustible source of gifts. However, his manifestation depends on the desire of our hearts. The intense prayer of the early Church gathered in the Cenacle preceded the Pentecost. The apostles were ardently desiring and asking for the One promised by Jesus: “All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus.”

With Mary’s intercession, let us ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit, come! Come to renew the gift of faith in us, come to renew your Church. Come to give us the enthusiasm to evangelize our society. Come with your gifts. Give us the grace to experience your fruits. Come, Holy Spirit, come!

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