Homily for the Feast of Pentecost Year A
Theme: Pentecost Sunday, The Birth of the Church.
By: Fr. Benny Tuazon
Homily for Sunday May 31 2020
In today’s Gospel, as promised, Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to the disciples. Jesus was leaving in order to stay. The disciples were hiding and were in fear. The death of Jesus did not only bring them sadness but fear also because their association with the the Lord drew the ire of the Romans and their fellow Jews who saw Jesus as a rebel and blasphemer. The resurrection of Jesus and, finally, the descent of the Holy Spirit empowered and inspired the disciples to come out and boldly profess their faith.
Jesus’ greeting was “Peace be with you.” The import of this greeting is revealed by Jesus’ command after breathing on them. “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retained are retained.” The mission of Jesus to reconcile the world to Himself continues. It is now entrusted to the disciples and those who will follow after them.
Pentecost, the coming of the Spirit, was the event of showering the disciples with the gifts of the Spirit. Gathered together and working together for the Kingdom, an institution emerged. It is now called the “Church.” Thus, today is also considered the birthday of the Church. The birth, which is a gift, has a task. The Church presents herself as an agent of reconciliation between God and man. The sacraments provide those opportunities, primarily the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
As we remember that fateful day when the Spirit was given by the apostles, we are reminded of our responsibilities as a Church gifted by the Spirit. Each of us, when we were baptized were gifted with so many gifts. When we were confirmed, we had been anointed with the Spirit and were expected to use them for the sake of the Kingdom. After Confirmation, we became soldiers of Christ not anymore eluding evil but meeting it head on and resolving to defeat it in the Spirit. One who has the Spirit should be alive and kicking! Alive because of the presence of the gifts. Kicking because of the need to trample the temptations and advances of the devil. The battle is not only physical or material. The vital battle is spiritual. With the Spirit with us, we will not be alone in that battle.