Homily for the Solemnity of Pentecost Year C
Theme: The Gift of the Father
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday, June 9 2019
It is exactly fifty days after Easter, _Pentecost_ , and the Church liturgically relives and renews that unique day in her life when her entire perspective and orientation were confirmed and focused by that particular visit and the perennial presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the force behind all the activities of the Church and He is the secret behind our progress and right response to God as Christians and as sons and daughters of God for “the Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world and that which contains all things understands what is said.” May the Holy Spirit blow afresh in the Church and in our hearts; Amen.
It was an indelible and an unforgettable experience for the apostles and disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ and of course in the life and history of the Church about that beautiful morning when the Promise of the Son and the Gift of the Father came upon the apostles and upon the whole Church; “and something appeared 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” (Acts 2:1-11). One of the great mysteries about this day was that through the power they received, the Apostles preached to all those present and “each one was bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language.” This unique manifestation signified the universality of the mission entrusted to the Church by our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was aware that left alone the disciples would achieve nothing; their message would be without content like empty vessels making loud but unproductive and fruitless noise. He knew that without the Holy Spirit, the disciples and of course the Church would not be animated to move where her Founder wants her to go; to the ends of the earth. Hence, in the Gospel Reading (John 14:15-16, 23-26), while still on earth, Jesus made that unique promise to His disciples “I have said these things to you while still with you; but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.” The Solemnity of today is a celebration of the day of the fulfilment of this promise.
The Psalmist recaptures the prayer and expectation of God’s children today; “send forth Your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth” (Ps 104:30). The atmosphere is entirely Spirit-filled and the wind of the Holy Spirit blows afresh in the Church and in our hearts; blowing out all filth and dirt and guilt and sin; and blowing into the Church and into us holiness and divine gifts and liveliness and fruitfulness and spiritual growth and progress and the power of God’s mercy. It is the Holy Spirit that leads us to love God and to love our neighbours and to obey the commandments of God. It is impossible to respond positively to God and to His word without the prompting and the impulse of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings us to new-birth in Christ to truly become sons and daughters of God. He strengthens us to keep ourselves under check and under control, and to curb ourselves of everything unspiritual and of every ungodly interest. The presence of the Holy Spirit in us dispels from us every force of darkness and marks us entirely and eternally for Christ. In the words of the Second Reading (Rom 8:8-17) “unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to Him.” We can possess the Spirit of Christ because in fulfilment of His promise, the Father sent us this Gift to be with us till the end of the ages. To possess this Gift, we must clean ourselves and make our abodes conducive and fertile for the implantation of His gifts and fruits in us for “if the Holy Spirit takes His grace away, nothing pure in man will stay; all his good is turned to ill.”
O God, Who by the mystery of today’s great feast sanctify your whole Church in every people and nation, pour out, we pray, the gifts of the Holy Spirit across the face of the earth and, with the divine grace that was at work when the Gospel was first proclaimed, fill now once more the hearts of believers; Amen.
Happy Pentecost Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE