May 14, 2013

Homily - Pentecost Sunday


Fr. René J. Butler, M.S.

Imagine you are one of the disciples gathered in the upper room, Acts 1:14 “All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”

You hear something like a mighty wind.

You see something like tongues of fire.

You feel something happening within you and in the whole group.

You do something: you start to speak in ways you have never spoken before.

This is a pivotal event in the life of the disciples. The death and resurrection of Jesus were pivotal for their faith. Pentecost is pivotal for their life. Nothing will ever be the same again.

We have all had experiences we will never forget. Whether they are positive or negative, they are pivotal. They are more than memories to us.

In the creed we say: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life.” This is more than remembering.

“The Lord formed man from the earth and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.” (Gen. 2:7) The powerful breath of the Spirit at Pentecost made the disciples – and continues to make us today – a “living being” known as the Church.

The Church can never forget that first Pentecost, because the Church would not exist without it, and because the Holy Spirit continues to dwell in the Church and in all believers. The “Giver of Life” continues to give life.

The life of the Church consists in the gifts (charisms) the Spirit brings. They take many different forms, but all serve one purpose: to proclaim that Jesus is Lord!

We tend to think of gifts we receive as something for ourselves. The pivotal event of Pentecost shows us that the gifts we receive are never just for ourselves, but for the good of all. First we need to recognize the gift. Then we need to figure out how best to share it.

Fr. René Butler, M.S., is Director of the La Salette Shrine in Enfield, NH.

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