This weekend, we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Universal Church and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost arrives fifty days after Easter and ten days after the Ascension of the Lord. As we celebrate Pentecost, it is good to once again renew our commitment as disciples of Christ, preaching the good news of Christ to all people, and to witness Jesus who will come again “to judge the living and the dead, and to establish God’s Kingdom.”
On Easter Sunday, we became “Resurrected People” and on Pentecost we will be anointed with the Holy Spirit, to carry out the essential mission of the Church, proclaiming to the world that “Jesus is alive” and that He is “the Way, the Truth and the Life,” (Jn 14: 6). This mission of the Church has to be carried out without fail, and with great joy and courage. The twelve Apostles carried out the mission of Christ so boldly and strongly after the empowerment of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Day and that has become the source of lasting joy and peace to the world. As we participate in the online Pentecost celebration this Sunday, let us be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and receive a spiritual commission to witness Christ in our family, our community, our nation and to the ends of the world.
On Ascension Day, Jesus said that He is going to the Father and He will come again in a new form of closeness and continued presence in us. Pentecost Day is “a gift and a task” for us. It is a GIFT because it is the day that we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, a Paraclete to be our Advocate. It is a TASK because it is a day that we are sent forth to continue the task of the Apostles – evangelising the message of Christ to the world and to bear witness to Him.
During this whole month of May – the Month of Rosary, we have prayed the Rosary either individually or as a family and /or probably via social media. After the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord (21 May 2020) many of our parishioners started a nine-day Novena Prayer to the Holy Spirit, praying vigorously along with their Rosary recitation. Some of you would have spent time reading articles and books or listening to videos and audios pertaining to the Holy Spirit. Adding these insights on the Holy Spirit will definitely assist us in having a personal Pentecost experience “to repent, forgive and believe in Jesus.” The promoting of the Holy Spirit – the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, is a “gift of gifts” inspiring us to experience a spiritual transformation and to grow in holiness.
This weekend we will continue to sing – “Come Holy Spirit, Creator, Come!” or “Veni Sancte Spiritus.” It is time for us to once again recall the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord (Is 11:2-3) – which we received during the Sacrament of Confirmation. Together with these Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, we should take time to reflect on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit – ‘Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control” (Gal 5:22-23). Let us get in touch and get to know these Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit and how they constantly move us, mould us and reshape our lives.
Let’s be aware of the evil fruit of spirits too – sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, rivalries, quarrels, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and all these things (Gal 5:19-21) – which can sometimes dominate lives. These evil fruits are a natural part of human life as we battle with the acts of the flesh, but it can lead us far away from God and we find ourselves in a state of exhaustion trying to return the Lord. Let us always remember to put forward the fruits of the Holy Spirit and to give life to our own spirit and to remember always “to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with the Lord,” (Micah 6:8).
As we conclude the Month of Rosary and the Novena to the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we pray that she brings strength from the Lord to “Committing Ourselves into New Evangelisation” by embracing the 5Ls (the Lost, Last, Least, Little and Lonely) throughout this year.
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy