From the Pulpit: June 4, 2017

June 4, 2017                                                            PENTECOST

Introduction

There is something fascinating about fireworks that just mesmerizes us and draws our attention.

  • Usually fireworks are a part of 4th of July celebration.
  • There’s always a sense of anticipation for the fireworks to begin.
  • We never know exactly when they’re going to start.
  • Usually, we’re told that when night Falls the fireworks will be again.
  • And so we watch the sky waiting for the celebration of the fireworks to begin.
  • It is so fascinating to see the colors and the patterns.

Acts of the apostles – the coming of the Holy Spirit

Many centuries ago something like this happened as well. I guess you could call it divine fireworks.

  • It happened on a Sunday morning.
  • Saint Luke describes it this way:
  • Several weeks had passed since the disciples had last seen Jesus. They weren’t sure what to do next.
  • Some thought it best just to return to their former way of life while others believed they should carry on the mission of Jesus.
  • Finally, they all agreed that they should pray and ask God for directions that he would show them what to do.
  • So, they prayed for several days and nothing happened until Sunday morning. And then it came!
  • Some described it as the force of a driving wind. Walls, floors, ceilings begin to vibrate and move. There was the sound of wind–The sound of wind like they had never heard before.
  • Still others described it as fire. Yes, there was a tremendous noise but at the same time the room grew hotter and hotter until a liquid ball of fire appeared.
  • Within moments, the fire rained down on those who were gathered.
  • The whole experience didn’t last very long, perhaps 60 or even 90 seconds at mos.
  • Just as quickly as it had begun it came to an abrupt end.
  • There was absolute silence. The disciples looked at one another and wondered what had happened. They may have said to each other, “what was that?”

Effects of the Spirit

Within moments, the disciples begin to feel something new and exciting. They experienced a sense of courage and new boldness.

  • Without hesitation, or consulting anyone, Saint Peter stood up, went to a closed shutter, opened it and begin to speak.
  • He began to tell the assembled crowd of over 3000 that the Jesus was crucified by the authorities has risen from the dead and has been made Messiah and Lord.
  • Jesus promises a new way of thinking and a new way of living.
  • By the end of his Sunday sermon, 3000 people were baptized. It was the beginning of the Christian church!

Yes, that is how we begun. Today is our birthday!

The Sacred Breath of God

As the disciples began to reflect upon their experience, they realized that there was a great deal of energy and power in that room.

  • However, it was not so much a “What” as it was a “Who”
  • They realized that it was the spirit of the risen Christ, the sacred breath of God.
  • It was the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate promised by Jesus.
  • Jesus promised them that he would send an Advocate, one who would give them strength and help.
  • This gift of the Holy Spirit was the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to them.
  • That spirit given nearly 20 centuries ago has provided energy and life for the church and disciples in every age.
  • The Holy Spirit has opened up new vistas and new possibilities.
  • The Holy Spirit has reminded the church of everything that Jesus said.

Application

God is generous with the gift of his Holy Spirit.

  • Yes, Jesus promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to his apostles.
  • God, however, is generous with the gift of his Holy Spirit.
  • He continues to give the gift of the Holy Spirit do his church in every age and in every time and every place.
  • Not only that, but he has given you and me the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • We received the gift of the spirit at our baptism and the fullness of the Spirit in confirmation.
  • That same Holy Spirit compels us to be both apostles and witnesses.

More often than not, we are afraid to witness to our faith.

  • We are more often than not concerned what other people will think of us.
  • The Spirit has been given to us so that we might go out and make a difference. Think of it this way.
  • You and I have the same spirit that compelled the apostles to go out to change the world.
  • Rather than be afraid, we should realize that we have the boldness that comes from the Spirit.
  • We have the strongest power and energy that exists.
  • The Spirit of the living God.
  • The same Spirit that hovered over the waters at the beginning of creation.
  • The same Spirit that conceived Jesus in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary.
  • It is the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead and transforms the world.
  • The spirit that has been given to us.

That same Holy Spirit can transform you and me.

  • That spirit has the power to transform the world.
  • We are called to be Catholic and to be bold.

Use your imagination!

There are approximately 27 million Catholics in the United States and nearly 1.2 billion Catholics in the world.

  • Think of the difference we could make if we were all emboldened by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Think of the difference we could make here in Casper if we joined with other Christians and followed the promptings and directions of the Holy Spirit.
  • Do you realize that we have the power to change Casper?
  • Do you realize that we have the power to change the world?

Conclusion

Yes, 50 days ago we celebrated the great feast of Easter.

    • Christ has triumphed over death.
    • He shares with us the promise of eternal life.
    • Not only that, but he empowers us with the gift of his Holy Spirit.

 

  • That Spirit is there as our helper and our guide.
  • That Spirit will give us strength in our weakness. So, let’s pray, “COME HOLY SPIRIT!”