May 27, 2012
“Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you”
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Pentecost concludes the Easter Season, and is called the birthday of the Church because the Apostles go forth to proclaim the Gospel and begin to baptize in the Name of the Lord Jesus, that is to say, in the power that Jesus had given them – the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Apostles and disciples experience the risen Lord through his several appearances over a 40 day period. They are reminded to go to Galilee to experience the Ascension of the Lord, which had been celebrated in the recent past on (Ascension) Thursday, but this Archdiocese and many others now celebrate it on Sunday so as to reach as many of the faithful as possible about this dimension of the Paschal Mystery.
We read in the Acts of the Apostles that the Apostles and disciples went back to the Upper Room, the Cenacle, where the Apostles had celebrated the Last Supper (The First Mass). There in Jerusalem, they gathered around Mary, mother of Jesus, and began to pray for 9 (nine) days – the First Novena. On the 10th day God the Father and God the Son sent the Holy Spirit upon them.
The Holy Spirit manifested himself first as a sound “like a strong driving wind”. This imagery hearkens back to the Holy Spirit or breath of God hovering over the waters at the creation of the world. The Holy Spirit then manifested himself as “tongues of flame“ which parted and came to rest on each one of them. The Holy Spirit is not only “the Lord, the giver of life” as we pray in the Nicene Creed, but he is also the one who illuminates and sanctifies the Apostles to go and preach boldly the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We receive the Holy Spirit at our Baptism, who implants within our soul the spiritual seeds of the divine virtues: faith, hope and love (charity) and imparts the seven divine gifts in order to perfect these three divine virtues as well as the four moral virtues. We are sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, which completes our Baptism and draws us deeper into Jesus and his Catholic Church. The seven divine gifts of the Holy Spirit are: Wisdom, Knowledge, Wonder and Awe, Counsel, Understanding, Fortitude and Reverence.
Let us pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts and minds that we would continue to grow in the saving mission of living and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here is a beautiful invocation to the Holy Spirit: “We beseech You, O God, that the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from You, may enlighten our minds and lead us to all truth, as Your Son promised.” Amen.
The Peace and Fiery Love of Pentecost,
Fr. Thomas McCabe