Disciple Makers Week 8: Holy Spirit Make It Possible

(Homily for Pentecost Sunday)

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.

Spanish Version

From the Archives (Pentecost Sunday):

2017: Life in Christ Week 8: Source of Power
2016: Led by the Spirit
2015: Disciple Makers Week 8: Holy Spirit Make It Possible
2014: Practical Sign of Hope
2013: Even Greater Things
2012: Our First, Most Cherished Liberty
2011: It Was the Holy Ghost
2010: The Power of the Holy Spirit
2009: The Soul's Most Welcome Guest
2008: Double Gift
2007: With You Always
2006: He Testifies to the Truth
2005: The Greatest Unused Power
2004: A Man Open to the Holy Spirit
2003: To Drink of One Spirit
2002: Healing of Memories
2001: Hateful Comparisons & Precious Gifts
2000: The Spirit & The Flesh
1999: Each in His Native Language
1998: Empty Rites?

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