THEME: Veni Sancte Spiritus! Come, Holy Spirit!

BY: Fr. Anthony O. Ezeaputa, MA.



When the mission of the Son of God on earth was accomplished—that is, after his Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension—the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the adopted children of God. Consequently, the outpouring of the Spirit from the Father and the Son inaugurates the mission of the adopted children of God, the church. As a result, Pentecost Sunday is also the birthday of the Church.

This is the church that Jesus Christ founded. This is the church that is called “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic” in the Creed. This is the church which our Savior, after His Resurrection, commissioned the Apostle Peter to shepherd (John 21:15-17) and with the other apostles to extend and direct with authority. This church is present in the Catholic Church. This is the Church that Pope Francis, who is the successor of St. Peter, leads with the help of the bishops in communion with him.

The Catholic Church has the full means of salvation—the Word of God and the Seven Sacraments—and truth. Nevertheless, some of these, such as invoking the Triune God, confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Word of God, baptism, love of God, and love of neighbor, can be found outside the Catholic Church as well. However, these are gifts that belong to the Catholic Church and are forces that propel those who are not yet in full communion with the Church of Christ into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Unfortunately, the Church of Christ has experienced divisions and continues to experience them even in our day. And so, as we celebrate the birthday of the Church, let us continue to pray for the realization of the prayers of Jesus Christ for all his adopted children, “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). Long live the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church!

Our first reading (Acts of the Apostles 2:1–11) sets the story of Pentecost against the backdrop of the ancient story of the construction of the Tower of Babel. It shows us the essential aspects of the mystery of Pentecost, which are the indispensable features of the Church. They include unity, understanding, and sharing.

The Book of Genesis (11:1–9) records that the whole world had one language, understood each other, and was migrating eastward. They came to the land of Shinar and said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves.” As a result, God decided to confuse their language so that they couldn’t understand each other, and not only that, but God also scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city.

The construction of the Tower of Babel describes a way of life in which men and women have concentrated so much power on themselves that they believe they no longer need God. Babel is the assumption that we were so strong that they could literally build our own ladder to heaven, open its gates, and take God’s place.

However, while they worked so tirelessly to construct the tower and strived to be like God, even becoming God, they ran the risk of no longer being human. They stopped being able to agree, understand each other, and work together, which are all essential features of being human.

Civilization, scientific advancement, and technological innovation have provided us with the capacity to control the forces of nature and reproduce living things, nearly to the point where we could manufacture human beings. However, the risk is that relying on and praying to God now appears obsolete and worthless to some of us. In this way, we relive the same experience as Babel.

The basic question is: why can’t human unity, understanding, and mutual sharing really exist with all the human progress and advancement in science and technology? The answer lies in Sacred Scripture. They can only exist as a gift of God’s Spirit.

It is the Holy Spirit who gives us unity, understanding, and mutual sharing by giving us a new heart, a new tongue, and new communication abilities. This is what occurred at Pentecost, and this is what we celebrate today.

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples like a fire. Their fears vanished, their hearts were filled with new power, their tongues were loosed, and they began to speak freely in a way that was understandable to everyone. On Pentecost, the gifts of unity, understanding, and sharing were given to us.

Dear friends, Babel is confusion. At Babel, people wanted to become God. However, they succeeded only in losing the essential elements of being human. But Pentecost is a restoration of order, the recognition of the power and place of God in our lives.

Let us ask God to give us the grace to be led by the Spirit, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are his children (Romans 8:14). May the Holy Spirit enlighten and guide us to the Truth, the Way, and the Life as they are transmitted in the Church. “Veni Sancte Spiritus! Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love! Amen.

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