Message: The Holy Spirit makes discipleship possible.
This Sunday we will hear a testimony from a seminarian of the Archdiocese of Seattle. He will tell his vocation story - and express his gratitude for your support through prayer and the Annual Catholic Appeal.
It's appropriate we hear his testimony on Pentecost Sunday. Last week on the Feast of the Ascension we heard how the story ends: Jesus takes his place to rule at the Father's right hand. That's how the story ends. Today we hear how it begins. Today - Pentecost - is the "birthday of the Church" - the sending of the Holy Spirit.
And upon whom does Jesus first send his Holy Spirit? Our reading from Acts gives the answer: "devout Jews." Our roots are Jewish. We are Jews. When Hitler began his attacks against European Jews, Pope Pius XI declared that we Christians are "spiritual Semites." The Nazis were anti-Semites. You and I are Semites - in spirit and in reality because of Jesus.
Those involved in World Youth Day will learn more about the persecution of Jewish people - especially by our visit to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp near Krakow. We repent of the role Christians took in persecuting Jews, but we also celebrate righteous Gentiles who helped Jewish people. And we acknowledge our debt to the Jewish people and thank God that in Jesus he has grafted us like wild branches onto the the Jewish trunk.
The Christian story begins with "devout Jews from every nation." Upon them Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. This gift marks the birthday of the Church. The Holy Spirit enables us to pray, to receive forgiveness and extend that gift to others. The Holy Spirit gave us the Bible - he spoke through the prophets in the Old Testament and guided the writers of the New Testament. The Holy Spirit gives substance to our sacramental rituals. From all this - and more - you can see that the Holy Spirit makes discipleship possible.*
So today (Pentecost) is the birthday of the Church. Next Sunday we will see the Holy Spirit in relation to the other two persons of the Trinity: the Father and the Son. For now I ask you listen to a man who the Holy Spirit inspired to seek the priesthood. With a prayer in your heart, I ask you to give your full attention to Carlos Orozco.
*Over the summer I will elaborate on these dimensions of discipleship in light of the Disciple Makers Index survey.
From the Archives (Pentecost Sunday):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Fr. Brad's Homilies
Fr. Jim's Homilies
Fr. Michael White's Homilies ("messages")
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
Parish Picture Album
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru