Saturday, June 3, 2017

June 4, 2017: Pentecost A

June 4, 2017: Pentecost A

Click to hear Audio Homily
Once as a child, my mom took me along to a jeweler to have her old, gold wedding ring amalgamated with another ring. It wasn’t the kind of jewelery shop like we see in the mall. It was a small, soot-blackened room filled with men each working with a small blowtorch. One of the jewelers placed my mom’s two rings in a small porcelain bowl and began to apply the blowtorch. I had to turn my head away because the rings glowed uncomfortably bright white under the torch. For 30 minutes the jeweler alternated hammering the ring and applying more blowtorch to shape it. When it was finished, the jeweler brought the ring to my mom for inspection. It was amazing to see the new ring transformed from two old, beat up wedding bands. I was so mesmerized by the power of the flame of fire which melted the gold and burned away imperfections. This memory came to mind as I reflected on the event that occurred on the day of Pentecost in the Upper Room in Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago where Blessed Mother and the disciples obediently waited in prayer for the Holy Spirit to come. We can’t imagine what that experience was like, to hear the sound of the rush of a mighty wind filling the entire room and to be enveloped by tongues as of fire. What an experience it must have been to be united or amalgamated with God’s Spirit of Love!

Pentecost marks the end and the goal of the Easter season. Our Lord had promised the Apostles, “You will receive the Holy Spirit and you will be my witnesses in the world.” This day is a memorial of the day of the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and Blessed Mother, an event that took place fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus. Previously timid and fearful disciples received gifts of the Holy Spirit which empowered them to witness to Christ by their sacrificing love and bold faith. Pentecost marks the birthday of the Church, for it was the inauguration of the Christian Church by the apostolic preaching of St. Peter, the fruit of which was the conversion of 3,000 Jews to the Christian faith.
World Youth Day 2013 Copacabana Beach

Let us each ponder these questions. Do I know the Holy Spirit? Am I conscious of His presence, action, and power in my life? Am I cooperating with the Holy Spirit to be Our Lord’s witnesses in the world? Pope Francis said, “The Holy Spirit is the one who moves us to praise God, to pray to the Lord, the one who is within us and teaches us to see the Father and to call Him, ‘Father.’ The Holy Spirit frees us from this ‘orphan-like’ condition which the spirit of the world wants to put us in.”

Holy Spirit is our Counselor, Comforter, Helper, and Encourager who quietly works in us and through us every day behind the scenes in the ordinary activities of our lives and the lives of people around us. Did you know that He is there in all his fullness wherever people worship and pray in the name of Jesus. He is there to inspire us to turn away from our sinfulness and to reassure us that we are still loved in spite of our sin. He confronts us and urges us to take a good look at ourselves and to change course when necessary. He challenges us to leave behind the old way, to stretch ourselves beyond fear and step out in faith to do things for Christ--things we have never done before or ever imagined ourselves doing.

If we have not done so, today resolve to allow the Holy Spirit to direct our lives. Ask for His assistance in our thoughts, words, deeds, and in the breaking of our evil habits. To be open and docile to the Holy Spirit means that we need to be sincere in our concern for a friend; to be generous to those who seek our help; to trust and persevere even when trials come one after another; to be faithful in taking on responsibilities that we once resisted because we felt it was beyond our capabilities; to be grateful to God even when times have been hard; to be courageous in rising above past failures and putting past hurts behind us. Jesus wants to make our faith strong, give us hope that endures, and a love that never grows cold. He never refuses to give his Holy Spirit to those who ask with expectant faith.
World Youth Day 2013 Copacabana Beach

I invite all of us at this moment to open ourselves to the Refiner’s Fire, the Fire of the Holy Spirit. Just close your eyes and open your palms to receive the tongues of Fire as you listen to the lyrics of this song.

Purify my heart / Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart / Let me be as gold, pure gold

Refiner's fire / My heart's one desire
Is to be holy / Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy / Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will

Purify my heart / Cleanse me from within / And make me holy
Purify my heart / Cleanse me from my sin / Deep within