Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


"The Holy Spirit grants us spiritual light and life"
Homily for Pentecost Easter Sunday
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
May 27th, 2012
Year B


I have mentioned over the past couple of weeks that I’m addicted to a particular word game. Some of you have actually figured out what game I play. I would not consider myself to be extraordinarily intelligent with a vast vocabulary but I enjoy learning new words and finding out what they mean – the trouble is remembering. The past few weeks, certain words in our gospel readings have jumped out at me and have been a cause for deeper reflection. Today is no different.
At the very moment of creation, the Book of Genesis tells that “the earth was a formless wasteland and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.” It is this term ‘wind’ that is of particular importance. If we think about it, this could be considered God’s first act in creation – the wind swept over the waters. That which follows this act is light and life.  In fact, the Old Testament, in the Book of Exodus, 2 Kings, and the Psalms, all bear witness to the fact that this element of wind (as well as fire) were distinct manifestations of God’s presence among His people.
This term, then, has great significance with regard to our celebration of Pentecost. The original Greek term used here is ‘pneuma,’ meaning: breathe or spirit. We see the same terminology used in our gospel reading when Jesus breathed on the Apostles and the same term used in our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles when a “mighty wind” filled the house where they were sitting. In the first case, in the beginning of creation, God breathes over the waters thus filling the earth with His presence. In this case, God fills His disciples with His presence. He comes to them, filling their hearts and souls with His very self. And what follows? Tongues of fire appear to rest upon each one of them symbolizing the action of the Holy Spirit, enflaming their hearts with love and enabling them to understand Jesus’ teaching and mission. The presence of the Spirit in them now dispels the darkness of fear and leads them to preach boldly. The Holy Spirit grants them spiritual light and life.

Blessed Pope John Paul II, in his homily in 1980, reminds us that this first event of Pentecost was not an isolated one in the life of the Church. Pentecost is still happening and it has an enduring and lasting value. That which the disciples discovered was the very power of the Spirit that was promised to them. They discovered the strength of Him who had suffered, died and was raised. Strengthened in this way, they were moved to act. The Spirit of God became for them, as St. Augustine points out, the principle of unity, the unity of a lived communion with God; an abiding presence of love and an eternal gift, the eternal spring of grace that satisfies the deepest longings of our hearts and souls.
Each one of us, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation, are called to live by the Spirit. We are called to live, as St. Paul reminds us in our second reading, not by immorality, impurity, anger, selfishness, division, jealousy, and so on. Rather, the life of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. In order to do so, we have to keep the fire of the Spirit burning brightly within us. This is no easy task and too many of us

Christians have let the flame become dim or extinguished. There are 2 ways:
1. Prayer – it is the oxygen that is needed to keep the flame burning. Prayer keeps us in communication with God.
2. Confession – in this sacrament God purifies us with the fire of His mercy and He removes the hindrances that prevent us from seeing Him more clearly.
In these ways, God breathes His Spirit continually within us. His Spirit then becomes the animating principle of our lives of faith. By the grace of the Spirit, may we be humble yet courageous in living our faith, not shrinking in the face of the current adversities that we face in our society. Therefore, on this Pentecost Sunday, end with a prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul / the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth / the Spirit on Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God, know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable / the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples / and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.







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.




See other homilies of Fr. Jon Reardon...
Return to multimedia home...


SCTJM logo
Return to main page