Homily for Pentecost Sunday Year A
Theme: The Pentecost Experience
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday May 31 2020
The Gospel of Christ is a universal message, valid for all peoples of every nation. It is the Good news from our common Father on the oneness of our origin and the oneness of the goal set before us by God our Creator. It is the message that we belong to the One Family of God, redeemed by Christ our Lord and gathered into one by the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. The Feast of Pentecost brings us to relive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and to reconnect to Him who is the very protagonist of this Mission. May you, “Oh Lord, send forth Your Spirit and renew the face of the earth”; Amen
The _Pentecost_ was a unique experience, in every aspect of it, for the apostles and disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. The uniqueness of this experience is manifest in the solemnity with which the Church annually marks this Feast as is done today; exactly fifty days (Pentecost) after the very day of the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ and ten days after His Ascension into Heaven. This unique encounter is the subject of the readings of today’s Liturgy. In the First Reading (Acts 2:1-11), as the disciples were together, “something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.” He is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, Who together with the Father and the Son, is adored and glorified. He is the promised Paraclete which the Father sends to enlighten and guide all those who seek Him with a sincere. The unity and diversity made manifest in the identity of the disciples and in their graced ability to speak the one message of Christ in different languages and in the surprise that all present could hear them speaking their respective languages form part of the central message of the Pentecost experience. One of the truest but hardest messages for the world to grasp, but which the Holy Spirit continues to teach us, is the fact that we are from the same stock, irrespective of our place of origin or colour. Our end is fundamentally the same! From where then is the source of the division, dissention and hate that exist in our midst? What is your personal response to the unity which God invites us to live, the unity which the presence of the Holy Spirit inspires?
The greatest betrayal from men and women that cuts across all generations is the rejection and the sabotage of the unity we should live as sons and daughters of God and brothers and sisters of the same human, but godly, family. This is seen in the different destructive and disintegrative actions and reactions that kill humanity from its roots; selfishness, clannism, tribalism, nationalism and racism. Looking back through the history of humanity, we read and see how much havoc these vices have caused humanity and how much destruction they have caused the beautiful world created by God. These vices disfigure the beauty of men and women and of the whole order of creation. These vices transform men and women into destroyers instead of builders! Still living through our times, we face on a daily basis the devastation borne out of these vices. Sometimes we seem helpless and even conditioned to perpetuate despicable actions because of these vices. But, we are not helpless because the Holy Spirit has been given to us. Irrespective of how deep one may have sunken into these vices, the Feast of Pentecost is an opportunity to turn a new leave. Not just for the fact that the presence of the Holy Spirit makes the mercy of God available to us so as to repent and disconnect from past mistakes as we read in the Gospel Reading (John 20:19-23) “receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain they are retained”; but also the Holy Spirit recreates and renews the face of the earth; He recreates and renews us for good purposes. The Holy Spirit recreates and renews those who open the doors of their hearts unto Him. Such re-creation and renewal lead us back to immerse ourselves into God’s plan and the original purpose He has for us. Such re-creation and renewal enable us to recognise every good thing within us and all the gifts we have received from God as necessary materials to building a happy and united human family as we heard in the Second Reading (I Cor 12:3-7, 12-13), “just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.” Such re-creation and renewal bring us to recognise our true identity and the fact that we are brothers and sisters, irrespective of colour or language; and that the hate and dissention and the disunity existing in our midst are the works of the Evil One. All we need is to turn to Him, with our hearts and minds and souls and hands open; that we may be forgiven, healed and transformed; that we may become truly human and humane; that we may live as God wants us to live, in justice and peace and in love and mercy! There is no greater evangelization than being filled with and led by the Holy Spirit.
Most Holy Spirit, the Gift that gives and the august Guest from above that bears fruits in the lives of those who believe, come afresh upon us and abide in us forever, bringing us pardon and mercy, teaching and leading us to love and to live in peace and unity, transforming and making us new and gracing us to scale off the deadly fleeces that obscure our true identity so as to live the true face of our humanity; Amen.
Happy Pentecost Feast; Fr Cyril CCE