Saturday, May 14, 2016

One more from the archives; a homily for Pentecost Vigil Mass

The power of love is a curious thing; makes one man weep makes another man sing. Change a hawk into a little white dove. More than a feeling that’s the power of love. Who knew Huey Lewis would help me write a homily.

I hope all of us have experienced the power of love. Now I’m not just talking about falling in love, there is much to be said for the power of love. As a Deacon I get to witness the power of love every time I am present at a Sacrament; the baptism of a new child or witnessing the young couple on their wedding day. And of course we all experience the power of love every time we celebrate Mass.

As people of faith, don’t we experience the power of love everyday of our lives?

We are celebrating tonight the vigil Mass, the anticipation of Pentecost Sunday. We know that Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, that we end our Easter season with Pentecost, we wear the red vestments for Pentecost. We know that Pentecost is all about the coming of the Holy Spirit. And yes, Pentecost is all about celebrating the power of Love!

On this Pentecost eve, we should spend a few minutes speaking of the Holy Spirit. We refer to the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Holy Trinity. We often forget that the Holy Spirit then is God. We tend to understand the role, or character of God the Father and God the Son in the person of Jesus. But who is the Holy Spirit? What does he look like? We often depict the Holy Spirit as a dove or tongues of fire. Do we ever realize that the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is the manifestation of the power of love; the love the Father has for the Son and the love of the Son for His Father?

The Holy Spirit is also known to us as the Paraclete or the Advocate. We know that after the Resurrection and as Jesus prepares for His Ascension, He gives us all the promise of the Holy Spirit. In sending the Spirit, the power of love between Father and Son, Jesus boldly tells us that while He returns to the Father in Heaven, He does not leave us orphaned. The Holy Spirit, much like He did at that first Pentecost, gives us, if we choose to use it, the ability to be bold witnesses of our faith throughout the world! If we choose to use it, the gift of the Holy Spirit allows us to be bold proclaimers of the Word of God and the teachings of His Church, in both word and deed.

In tonight’s Gospel John tells us that there was no Spirit yet when Jesus told His disciples that the thirsty should come to Him and drink. Is John saying there is no Holy Spirit until this point in time? No! There is always a Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is God and God is forever and always. John spoke about the receiving of the Holy Spirit which we read of in the Acts of the Apostles tomorrow. Remember how tongues of fire descended over them and all could understand each other in their own native tongue. And remember how they went out among the people and boldly proclaimed Jesus. They were no longer afraid; no longer timid.

We are called to be not afraid and not be timid. Even all of us, who faithfully attend Mass week after week, must follow the example of that first Pentecost and proclaim, speak boldly and live our faith faithfully! In all we do and wherever we do it, be an example of one who possesses the power of love.

In another place St. John tells us that God is love. And Jesus tells us that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him and they are in all of us. We are love then too! If the Father and Son is in us; so too the Holy Spirit and He is the power of love!

In the week ahead, be fully aware of this power within you. May we all act on that power of love and be real living examples of the love between the Father and Son that dwells within. And in the week ahead when we pray, pray to the Holy Spirit to guide and inspire us and as we hear in our second reading, search our hearts and intercede for us according to God’s will.

Yes, the power of love is a curious thing; it’s more than a feeling it’s the power of love; the power of the Holy Spirit.

Happy Pentecost!

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