Homily for Pentecost Sunday Year A
Theme: THE SPIRIT OF A NEW BEGINNING
By: REV FR GERALD MUOKA
Homily for Sunday May 31 2020
Acts 2:1-11; Ps.104:1,24,29-31,34; 1Cor.12:3-7,12-13; Jn.20:19-23
A story was narrated about a little boy, Kelvin. He was in primary 3, attending a school where the most respected big boys in school were only those who rode bycicles to school. These big boys were always seen in ‘a bicycles convoy’, during recreations, parading their fanciful bicycles. They were so much revered by their colleagues and mate who looked forward to joining the league of bicycle big boys.
Kelvin had a rich Dad, who was strict and could afford a bycicle. But the father never did. Kelvin mustered courage on one occasion and went to plead with the Dad to queue him into the big boys league in school, by securing a bicycle for him. The father to his greatest surprise, agreed to buy him a bycicle. Yes, he agreed; but on one condition; ‘HE WAS MANDATED TO TAKE THE FIRST POSITION IN CLASS’.
Kelvin knew it was going to be a herculean task, because he was among the dullards that come first from behind (Ndi na ebu class n’isi).
The quest for becoming a bicycle owner propelled him to accept the challenge and study harder.
He set out study strategies to actualize this feat. He cut off from some friends and his leisure. He really read hard. At the end of the term, he took 4th position from behind; 37th out of 40, instead of 40th out of 40. He had a morale boost that he could do better in order to secure the bicycle and prove his father wrong.
He maintained the same study plan and at the end of the 2nd term, he retrogressed and took the last position; this time, 40th out of 40 students. At this point, it dawned on him that the hope of securing the bycicle from his strict dad had dashed. He widened his coast and pleaded with the uncle who kept promising without fulfilling it, from Easter to August and Christmas. When the uncle’s promise became a mirage, he sought the attention of his aunt who made a promise, which he reluctantly accepted, because of “nkwa Shagari kwere ndi Amucha”(unfulfilled promises).
Lo and behold, after one week, the aunt bought Kelvin a brand new chopper bicycle. His own became the best in the school. He became the biggest boy in town and school.
Kelvin so much treasured this bicycle that he placed its safety first in his order of priority. At night, Kelvin took the bicycle into the room and placed it on the bed and laid on the ground with his right leg on top of the bicycle. The mother came into the room and scolded him profusely to send the bicycle outside. He did and never returned to the room. He kept watch as a sentinel over the bicycle till day broke. The next day, he saved his snacks allowance, and after school, he used it to buy a long rope. No one knew why he got the rope. After dinner, as he was about going to bed, he went out and tied the rope on the bicycle parked outside, sneaked the rope into the room and had it tied to his waist…..lolzzzz….better carry me and the bicycle…
The next day, he was asked to go into the market to buy some food items. He got to the market and his plan to carry the bicycle into the market was truncated. He felt the parking lot was not secure for his highly treasured and valued bicycle. Kelvin remembered that, adjacent to the market, was their parish church. He felt the church could be far better and more secure than the market parking space. He got into the church and as he was parking it, saw the parish priest and told him to help him pray over the bicycle for protection. The priest was about taking him into the chapel for prayer. He reluctantly followed him and as he was about leaving, turned and lifting up his eyes, asked the Holy Spirit to watch over the bicycle. Right inside the chapel, the parish priest asked him to begin the prayers so that he could conclude. Kelvin started the prayer as follows: IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON,…AMEN. The parish priest got annoyed and felt he was among those who do not attend catechism classes and Bloc Rosary. After scolding him, he asked him to begin again, and he prayed thus: IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON, AMEN. The PP got more infuriated and after some rehearsals, to his greatest disappointment, Kelvin maintained the his own formula:IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON…., AMEN.
When the parish priest inquired to know why he was vehemently resisting mention of the Holy Spirit; he retorted: “FATHER, WHILE WE WERE ENTERING THE CHAPEL, I HAD INVOKED THE HOLY SPIRIT TO KEEP WATCH OVER THE BYCICLE FOR ME. SO IF I SHOULD MAINTAIN THE TRADITIONAL FORMULA OF THE SIGN OF THE CROSS: IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE HOLY SPIRIT MIGHT LEAVE THE BICYCLE TO ANSWER ME AND MAYBE AFTER THE PRAYER, I MIGHT START LOOKING FOR THE BICYCLE”….hahahaha..
Yes, the story is quite funny, exposing the foolishness of the young Kelvin. But I see this young boy as an ideal and a mentor who, out of his foolishness and naivety, has helped to integrate and tutor us on the power, essence and functionality of the HOLY GHOST in the life of every Christian.
Beloved child of God, today is Pentecost Sunday (Greek pentekostes=50 days). It was a Jewish Feast of Weeks, a Jewish harvest festival observed on the 50th day of the Omer (Lev. 23:16).
For us Christians, today is 50 days after the ressurection.
It marks the birth and beginning of the church as we see in the first reading. It is the day, the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles.
K’anyi lo ka Chukwu
Muo Nso si dakwasi
ndi ozioma, n’akuziri
ha ihe nzuzo ka Jesu
siri kwe na nkwa
(3rd Glorious Mystery)
On this day of NEW BEGINNING in the life of the church, the Holy Spirit dissipated fears in the apostles, over charged them with the unction to actualize the ‘missio ad gentes’ (preaching the good news to all nations) of Mtt.28:19-20. They received a great endowments of the sanctifying and ministerial gifts of the Holy Spirit as described in the second reading; which transformed them into NEW HUMANITY AND RENEWED GENERATION AND CONSTITUTED AMBASSADORS OF THE GOODNEWS.
Today, we witness the dawn of the new beginning in the life of the early Church. Every one is desirous of new things: new life, new house, new job, new self, new friends, new level, new appointments, new promotions, new favour, new anointing, new miracles, new healing, new mercy, SPIRITUAL RENEWAL and REGENERATION.
We try often and on to achieve this newness in our lives, family, vocation, profession, carrier, business, academics and vocation. The greatest lesson of Pentecost I learnt today is that it takes the presence of the Holy Spirit to announce the dawn of the NEXT LEVEL , NEW AGENDA, NEW BEGINNING AND NEW HOPE. This can only be achieved when we make our bodies true temple of the Holy Spirit. (1Cor.6:19). This can be achieved by constant disposition, self SANCTIFICATION and PURIFICATION of the soul. We recall Zech.4:6: “The Lord said to Zerubabel, it is not power, it is not by might, but by my Spirit”
*THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND WATER IN ANNOUNCING A NEW BEGINNING AND NEW LIFE IN THE SCRIPTURES*
God uses a singular LCM since Adam’s time in inaugurating a new beginning, new humanity, and new generation. God uses the presence of WATER AND THE HOLY GHOST to achieve such feat. Let us go through the pages of the scriptures to see the power of these agent and water in setting up new things.
(1) In Genesis 1:2, the presence of the Holy Spirit and water were felt before creative work started in the third verse proper.
(2) In Gen.2:6-7, the second creation account recorded that God used the water that flowed from the soil to fashion man, v.6 and breathed upon him in v.7.
(3) In Gen.8:6-11), while God decided to set up a new humanity through flood, he chose Noah who was asked to build an ark. At the dawn of the 40 days of regeneration, Noah in v.7, sent out a bird, first, a raven. The raven left and never returned… It is symbolic. Next, in v.8, he released another bird, now the dove. The presence of the dove is symbolic. The dove left and came back after finding no where to perch, unlike the raven that returned not. In v.10, after seven days, he sent out the dove again; who returned with an olive tree; thereby announcing a new humanity. The raven never returned because, it takes the presence of the Holy Spirit, typified in the dove, to make things new and announce the new earth and beginning.
(4) In Ex.13:22;14:12-16, God’s presence was manifested by the Holy Ghost armour, who led them as a pillar of fire by night and pillar of fire by night ; and consequently, leading them to a renewed life of the promised land through the Red Sea.
(5) In Mk.1:8-11, Jesus inaugurated the dawn of his salvific role by renewal through baptism and the confirmation by the Holy Spirit.
(6) In Jn.3:5, Jesus mandated Nicodemus that only REGENERATION by water and Spirit can guarantee eternal life
(7) In today’s celebration, the birth of the church is announced by the power of the Holy Spirit, perfected in the teeming number, 5000 converts who were empowered by water and the Holy Spirit, through baptism.
*FOUR WAYS OF IDENTIFYING WITH HOLY GHOST REBIRTH /REGENERATION*
Newness of life generated by the presence of water and the Holy Spirit can be achieved through
(1) Putting out the old self
(3) Walking under Grace
(4) Renewing the face of the Earth.
(1) *PUTTING OFF THE OLD SELF*
The Scripture says: “no one puts new wine into old wine skin.”(Mk.2:22). For us to enjoy this new beginning inaugurated by the Holy Spirit, we need to put on new selves. We can achieve this by putting off the old self that belong to the old manner of life that is evil and desirous of deceit (Eph.4:22-24). The quest to put off the old self begins with desire, and materialized in ‘ *metanoia* ‘ (repentance).
The presence of water in the aforementioned prefiguration according to Ezekiel 36:25-27, is paradigmatic with PURIFICATION and SANCTIFICATION. WATER IS A PURIFYING ELEMENT. The Spirit abhors sin(Ps.51:11). When we live in sin, the Spirit of God departs and our body becomes free and fertile for the demonic possessions, obsessions and denominations (Ekwensu e were nwa Chukwu na-aru over time). If the devil needs to cause confusion and trouble in your family, group and organisations, he uses the ichabodized body(one living in sin and without God’s glory).
Jesus recognizes that the presence of sin dispels the Holy Spirit, that is why in the Gospel reading, he gave us apostolic remedy to sin: “which ever sins you forgive are forgiven and the ones you do not forgive are not forgiven”, entrusted to the priests. NEVER ALLOW THE ACCUSER OF OUR BRETHREN TO ACCUSE YOU FIRST (REV.12:10). ACCUSE YOURSELF BEFORE GOD, FIRST AND OBTAIN FORGIVENESS. David used this medium to win God’s heart and became the man after God’s own heart (Acts13:22).
*(3) WALKING UNDER GRACE*
This is the locus standi of those who strive, desire and make themselves available to the promptings of the Spirit through REPENTANCE. THEY ARE ALWAYS AVAILABLE AT THE CONFESSIONAL LIKE DAVID (2Sam.12:13).
The scripture says “His Grace is sufficient us” (1Cor.12:9). The grace of God is synonymous with being spirit-filled. When we walk under grace, we become champions, who walk in dominion; our hustles become fruitful; OLUWA THEN BLESSES OUR HUSTLE. AT THIS LEVEL, WE BECOME UNSTOPPABLE. NO ONE DARES ACT LIKE A DESTINY DESTROYER, BECAUSE, ANYONE WHO FIGHTS A MAN UNDER GRACE, ONLY WITNESSES DISGRACE.
(4) *RENEWING THE FACE OF THE EARTH*
The essence of Spiritual Gifts which the same Spirit gives as we see in the second reading is to “renew the face of the earth”. We see this in our traditional invocation prayer to the Holy Spirit; SEND FORTH YOUR SPIRIT AND THEY SHALL BE CREATED… AND YOU WILL RENEW THE FACE OF THE EARTH.(Ps.104:). The apostles used the Pentecost anointing and gifts, to build up the body of Christ, the Church and the community, making it a better place for me and for you. But today, Spiritual gifts have become instruments of disunity, discord, multiplicity of churches and victimization of the weak and poor, under the guise…MUO NSO ZIRIM…THE SPIRIT MINISTERED TO ME..
*LESSONS OF PENTECOST*
●THOSE WHO FELLOWSHIP WITH THE HOLY GHOST AS SENIOR PARTNER AND FRIEND, KNOW NO SHAME (Acts 16:24-27)
●BE SPIRIT-FILLED ALWAYS (1Cor.6:19)
●DO NOT HUSTLE IN SIN (Ps.51:11)
●NEW BEGINNINGS AND NEW LEVELS ARE INAUGURATED BY HOLY GHOST ANOINTING (Ez.36:22-36)
●GOD RECOGNIZES OUR WEAKNESS AND DESIRES AVAILABILITY THROUGH REPENTANCE (Rom.3:23;Lam.3:23)
●SACRAMENT OF PENANCE IS ORDAINED BY GOD. (Jn.20:21-23)
●FAITH DISPELS FEARS (Heb.11:1)
●WE CANNOT DO WITHOUT PARTNERSHIP WITH THE HOLY GHOST WHO LIVES IN US (Zech.4:6)
AS YOU DESIRE CONSTANT FELLOWSHIP WITH THE HOLY GHOST, MAY THE SPIRIT:
(a)EMPOWER YOU (Acts1:8)
(b)HELP YOU IN YOUR WEAKNESS (Rom.8:26)
(c)TEACH YOU HOW TO PRAY(Rom.8:26-27)
(d)BE YOUR TEACHER (Jn.14:26
(e)SANCTIFY YOU (Gal.5:16-21)
(f)BE YOUR DEFENDER (Jn. 14:18)
(g) BE YOU ADVOCATE/SOLICITOR (Jn.14:16)
MAY THE PENTECOST ANOINTING SET UP NEW BEGINNINGS, AGENDA AND LEVELS IN YOUR LIFE, AMEN.
*HAPPY PENTECOST SUNDAY!*
*GOD LOVES YOU.*
*FR GERALD MUOKA*