Pentecost Sunday MMVI

Homily — Pentecost Sunday B June 4, 2006
Pentecost
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful,
and kindle in them the Fire of Your Love.

As we begin this Pentecost, this Fiftieth Day, our world is already brimming with life:

The trees are now all thick with leaves,
the grass is now green and lush,
the ground has fully lost its winter frost;

Lakes and springs are teeming with life,
Eggs have been hatched,
Animals that have mated months or weeks before
have now given birth to their younglings.

All creation is groaning . . . .

. . . .and not only that, but we ourselves groan inwardly, says St. Paul.

As the visible world around us brims with life, so also
the invisible world within the soul of the Disciple of Jesus already abounds with the joy Jesus has given it, even before the Spirit of God is born into this world later on this Pentecost Sunday.

How different a world it was the night the Son of God, the night Jesus Christ was born into this world.

The world Jesus was born into on Christmas Night was dark, cold, lifeless, colorless. And so did He find the hearts of men as dark, as cold, as lifeless and as colorless as a late day in December, the day He came forth from the Virgin’s Womb.

But even from the manger, Jesus began warming and enlivening the hearts of the simple shepherds and wise Kings who sought after Him. And every action and mystery of Christ’s earthly life — His Infancy, His first 30 years hidden in the carpenter shop and the home of a human family, His Baptism and Fasting, His preaching, teaching, calling of Disciples, healing, delivering, miracle working,

His suffering, Crucifixion, Death and Burial, His Resurrection, Ascension and Taking His Seat at the Right Hand of the Father — all of it was aimed at warming and enlivening our hearts.

And my brothers and sisters, All of Jesus’ Life and Death and Afterlife was to prepare our hearts for this Day of Pentecost — so that as the Day of Pentecost Dawns, our souls are as supernaturally alive as the creation around us is naturally alive.

Jesus was a warm up act for the Holy Spirit. The work of the Son is to Redeem us and Restore us; The work of the Spirit is to Sanctify us.

The Holy Spirit picks up in our souls where Jesus left off. Jesus enlightened your eyes, the Holy Spirit makes you shine with His Light, enabling you and me to enlighten others.

Jesus warmed that cold heart of yours, the Holy Spirit will not only keep it warm, but now make you a warmer of cold hearts.

For the Holy Spirit, simply put, transforms us into other Christs.

Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me Jesus says in the Gospel for the Vigil Mass.

And at the Last Supper, Jesus said You will do the things that I have done, and greater things then these, for my Spirit will be in you.

As the summer months set in, we all know what will happen to the healthy plants and trees and vines in the world that soak in the water and the sun: they will now begin to bear fruit that will ripen and renew the earth. And Jesus wishes us to also bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit by opening ourselves wide to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Tradition, building on St. Paul, enumerates twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit, namely Charity, Joy, and Peace; Patience and Endurance; Compassion, Generosity, Gentleness, and Faith; Modesty, Self Control, and Chastity. A man or woman who brings forth those fruits is really the Tree of Life for those around him.

Perhaps we should this Pentecost examine whether we’re really living in the Spirit by looking at the fruit that our lives are producing. Are we Charitable, Joyful, and Peaceable; Patient and Longsuffering; Compassionate, Generous, Gentle, Faithful; Modest, Temperate, and Chaste?

If not, perhaps we’ve succumbed to what St. Paul calls the works of the flesh, which are directly opposed to the gifts of the Spirit.

As we celebrate this Solemn Eucharist, may we ever more fully surrender ourselves soul and body to the Eternal Spirit of God, that we may be a Tree of Life bearing the Fruit of the Spirit and feed a spiritually starving world with that blessed Fruit that enflames and enlivens cold and dead hearts.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the Hearts of the Faithful,
Enkindle in them the fire of Your Love, and
Renew the Face of the Earth.

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