Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


Pentecost Sunday
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
June 8th, 2014
Year A

When I first arrived at Newman, one of my first outings with the students was apple picking. While on the way, I may or may not have run a red light. It was definitely yellow to me. One of the students – who happened to be studying to be a police officer – naturally let me have it when we arrived at the orchard. Things like this happen. We sometimes get lost in our own world and we lose our focus. It happens in our daily lives and it even can happen in our spiritual lives. When we stop paying attention to God or lose our focus on Him, then it can be difficult to recognize His presence in our lives.

If the disciples in the upper room were paying attention, they would have realized exactly what was happening. In the tongues of fire and in the rushing wind, the Spirit of God is clearly being known to them. It is a theophany – a direct manifestation of God’s presence. Both characteristics of the event of Pentecost bring us back to certain Old Testament events. The fire reminds us of the pillar of fire in the Book of Exodus when God led His people out of slavery in Egypt – by a pillar of a cloud by day and by a pillar of fire by night. The wind reminds us of the prophet Elijah in the Book of Kings hearing Yahweh speak to him, not in the storm but in the whispering of the wind. In the Gospel as well, as Jesus breathes on His disciples, we are reminded of when the spirit hovered over the waters in Genesis, giving them life. It is through the Spirit that presence of God is made known and it is through the Spirit that they are given life. In fact, the Spirit is so powerful, St. Luke reports, that the disciples were heard speaking several languages. The fire of the Spirit is so strong it moves them to speak boldly to the crowds. There is certain element of great courage now found in them. No longer are they to be locked away and hidden, for the Spirit propels them out of themselves. The Spirit moves them to make God known to others.

There is something to be learned from the Apostles in this Pentecost event. We need to pay better attention to the ways in which God speaks to us. We need to pay better attention to how He is present and active in our lives. We need to begin to make clearer connections between the way we live our lives and the Gospel message. It is indeed one of things with which I struggle. I often say that I need to be more reflective. I need to be more aware of the deeper, more significant and meaningful reality that lies beyond this world. Yet, I get caught up in my own day-to-day activity. Yet, how is this possible?

Pentecost - fifty days after Easter – is that event that gathers together, reaps the harvest of God’s work on earth in His Son. The same Spirit that gave Jesus the power to teach, to heal, to comfort, to forgive, to suffer, and to love now comes to rest on the apostles… and in the Sacrament of Confirmation, He comes to rest on us giving us that same power, that same courage. Like the apostles, we gather in this upper room to be fed by God, to be given life in order that we may go from here and into our communities under the authority, power and guidance of the Spirit. We go from here to make Him known. There is a real and true encounter that takes place in the event of Pentecost and it is the same here. God comes to us. He makes Himself known. Maybe not in fire or wind… but in bread in wine. This is not a “how can I, by my power, reach God” – like the tower of Babel. This is: “God, lift me up to you.” He thus becomes that principle that animates our lives – for the Spirit is the soul of the Church. Thus, in acts of simple piety – signs of our affection for God – can help us to always remember His presence. Simple acts of charity toward others can help us be reminded that we are to make Him known to others. A true and deep reverence at Mass and while immersed in prayer helps us to open our hearts to Him. We become docile to Him and more keenly aware of His presence – by our side for the whole of our lives.

Sometimes, we need to pay closer attention. Sometimes we need to regain our focus. The more we give of ourselves to Him, the more we open up our hearts to this encounter – sacrifice and service – the more we deepen our love for Him and grow in Christian maturity. Let us today, pray for a renewal of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us all, giving us a new zeal and fervor for Him who has called us to Himself.


Fr. Jon Reardon

Rev. Jonathan L. Reardon is a priest for the diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.
He serves at Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield, MA.

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