HAPPY PENTECOST SUNDAY! The great feast to conclude the Season of Easter; The Feast celebrating the Birth of the Church. Here’s the readings for today’s Mass - http://usccb.org/bible/readings/051913-pentecost-mass-during-day.cfm
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God Bless- Fr. Jim
Every year we celebrate Pentecost - which we see as the birth of the church. We call it that because it was the day on which the first believers came alive in their faith, the day when the Rock upon which Christ planted his church began to support and uphold an incredible new life. But too often we mark it as a day, an event that happened to a group of 12 some 2,000 years ago and miss the fullness of what God has given us - we miss it because we fail to ask ourselves: "how has God gifted me in particular - as an individual.."
There was this man named Mr. Yates who during the depression owned a sheep ranch in Texas. He did not have enough money to continue paying his mortgage - in fact he was forced like many others to live on government subsidies. Each day as he tended his sheep he worried about how he was going to pay his bills. Sometime later a seismographic crew arrived on his land and said that their might be oil on his land and could they test drill. After a lease was signed they went ahead. At 1115 feet a huge oil reserve was struck - subsequent wells revealed even more oil than the first well revealed. Mr Yates owned it all. He had the oil and mineral rights. He had been living on welfare - yet he was a millionaire. Think of it - he owned all that oil with its tremendous potential, yet he did not realize it.
What we celebrate with Pentecost is God being among us in power making us not just a group of believers but truly Christ in the world unafraid, empowered, bearing the cross out of love, and being raised from the Grave in glory.. What always makes this such an amazing and awesome feast is to see how in Pentecost we come to understand the fullness of God revealing Himself to humanity:
- In the Old Testament we learned of God as Creator, as Law-Giver.
- At Christmas we celebrated how in Jesus Christ - God becomes one of us, becomes one among us.
- What is so awesome to realize is that in Pentecost we celebrate God within us. In our Baptisms, and Confirmations we invited the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, to use us and to move us. But we sometimes forget that. Think of it - Mr. Yates owned all that oil with its tremendous potential, yet for so long he did not realize it. How often are we like Mr. Yate's? Thinking that we are poor and helpless in matters of faith, all the while unaware of the extraordinary power the extraordinary potential that we have available to us - that which is lying just below the surface in our minds and our hearts.
The Spirit has been and is being poured out upon us. The gift of God is just below the surface in our minds and hearts. Today in our midst, we hear the gospel in our own language, in our images, with our own metaphors, with our own ears. And ths Spirit directs our understanding of it – Some will leave Mass today encouraged to spend more time in praise and wonder to thank God for blessings, others at this Eucharist will hear that the power that they need for tomorrow's trials and tribulations will come, still others will take heart - knowing that God is present to them at all times. Whatever it is - it is filled with God - and uniquely yours. But we have to be open to recognizing the gifts God has poured out upon us so that we might love and serve our God and our neighbor in the way He has intended especially for us. That is kind of what happened with Mr . Yates - someone helped him to see what lay beneath the surface - and he discovered that he was a rich man - and his life of poverty and desperation was transformed into a life of abundance and of generosity. He found what had always been there - and he used it - and it changed his life. That is what the Holy Spirit is about, what His gifts are about. They are there to be used in the work of God, a work to which we are all called, and which, when we all serve as we are intended - transforms us, our church, and our world - into what God intends us to be.