Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


Pentecost Sunday
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
May 19th, 2013
Year C

Pentecost – today’s feast – is one of three major Jewish feats.  Many pilgrims used to travel to Jerusalem during these days in order to adore God in the Temple. This particular feast originated from a very ancient thanksgiving celebration, in gratitude to God for the yearly harvest that was about to be reaped. It is called Pentecost because it took place exactly 50 days after the Feast of First Fruits. Later, a new significance was placed upon the feats in remembrance of the Law given to Moses on Mount Sinai that took place 50 days after the Passover. By God’s design, this feast, in accordance with the New Law given by Christ, signifies the coming of the Holy Spirit with His gifts and fruits. It is in this event of Pentecost that the Spirit is communicated – is given to the Church. And it is in the Church where the Spirit illumines our intelligence with eternal truth. Today, in this celebration of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit comes upon us once again in a real and very profound way.

St. John reports in his gospel that the disciples were afraid. Due to this fear they had locked themselves in the upper room. The friendly words of Jesus surely brought them consolation. At this moment something very significant happens to them – Jesus breathes on them. The Greek word used here is “ruah” – which means breath. It is the same word used in the opening lines of the Book of Genesis when God “breathed” over the waters giving life to the world. In the same way, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, transforms the Apostles and gives them new life, the life of grace lived in the Spirit. Thus, this event of Pentecost reminds us of creation. The Apostles are recreated, formed anew in Christ. The Acts of the Apostles tells us that after this event of Pentecost, after they received the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, they went forth and proclaimed the Word of God boldly in the public square. There was no longer any fear in their hearts for the Spirit of God had conquered their fear. The Holy Spirit had consecrated them to Christ and to the Father.

“[T]his consecration,” says Cardinal Jean Danielu, “must embrace and imbue all humanity; and this is the labor of the Spirit in the Church. It is the river of living water that seeks to sweep everything before it and shatters all obstacles, or the fire that Christ has kindled in the world and which seeks to consume all things…”

We see this precisely in the Apostles today and we can experience the same power of the Spirit in our own lives. In fact, it is the mission of the Spirit to bring us to life. Often, however, our own fear gets in the way of allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us. In this way, as Pope Francis commented yesterday at the Vigil of Pentecost in St. Peter’s Square, we become in danger of being inanimate Christians. It is the mission of the Spirit to animate our lives of faith, to bring it to life and transform us to be consecrated to God – made holy in Christ. What this means is that we must allow the Holy Spirit to take possession of our hearts – just as He did the Apostles on that first Pentecost when the Church was brought to birth. Pope Francis, again, offers some advice. He told the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s yesterday and he says to all of us, that we are not to be a closed Church. Rather, we must be open to the Spirit. We must open our hearts and allow the Spirit to enter in and to lead us, to guide us, to teach us the Truth of Christ and the Church, and to consecrate us – to make us holy.

This holiness is not simply an act of doing things in God’s name. This holiness is the act of filling every aspect of life, of reality, with the life of the Spirit. In this way, the Spirit breathes in us, communicates to us the holiness of God, and permeates every fabric of our being. In this way we are lead to greater communion with God. Yet, in order to attain this holiness we need to be able to breathe the breath of God – we need His oxygen. It can be found in these ways:

1. Prayer – keeps 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.

3. Communion – faithful participation in Holy Mass and the worthy reception of Holy Communion bring us into greater conformity with Christ – the Eucharist is our means to Communion with God.

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 us that He may perfect in our souls / the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant us the Spirit of Wisdom that we may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten our mind with the light of Your divine truth / the Spirit on Counsel that we may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that we may bear our crosses with You and that we may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose our salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that we may know God, know ourselves and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that we may find the service of God sweet and amiable / the Spirit of Fear that we may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark us, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples / and animate us 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.



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