Saturday, June 7, 2014

Homily (2) Pentecost Sunday Year A: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily (2) Pentecost  Sunday Year A: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Acts 2:1-11; 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Gal 5:16-25 and John 20:19-23 or John 15:26-27; 16:12-15

 The Gift of the Holy Spirit

In the past weeks we all witnessed and celebrated the joy of the resurrection and the Ascension of Christ. Today we celebrate the Pentecost, a day the Holy Spirit promised us by Christ came upon his Church. After Easter, it is the second most important day in the life of the Church.  And it is  a popular day for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Some of us were confirmed on this day with a package of various spirit gifts, including peace, the Holy Spirit of unity and courage.

 In the Gospel reading of today (John 20:19-23) we told “on the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came stood in their midst and said to them ‘peace be with you… as the Father has sent me, so I sent you…he breathed on them and said’ receive the Holy Spirit” Naturally, one wonders why they were afraid, and why they locked themselves up in confinement. What were they afraid of? Perhaps, they were afraid of persecution and insecurity. They lived in fear. They were rapped and locked in fear and in state of uncertainties. Many of us do live in fear for one reason or the other.

We have our own anxieties and worries. We are surrounded and rapped around daily problems and unpredictability (ties). Jesus as we saw in the Gospel has the keys for these problems. He is the source and the conduit of peace, freedom, liberty and breath that ushers in the Holy Spirit of love and evangelization.

 In the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1-11) as soon as the disciples had received this Holy Spirit, they were heard speaking in different languages of different nations.  It is amazing to see what different the Holy Spirit brings us. With it we hears Christ well and we have the courage to share what we have heard or received from Christ with others.  Of course, Christ speaks to us in our languages, in our culture. He visits us in our own homes, on our chairs, in our beds and in every circumstances of our lives. And we need the gift of the Holy Spirit even to appreciate Christ’s presence in our lives. We need the spirit to listen to one another’s music, language, and appreciate the talents and blessings that each of our neighbors brings us. We need the Holy Spirit to bring Christ’s to our neighbors.

 In the 2nd reading Paul recommends this gifts for the troubling and divided Corinthian Church. Although Corinthian was a materially or materially booming center its inhabitants were full of themselves. They were arrogant corrupt and of displayed rivalry among themselves. They rivaled for power, money and possessions. Divisions in particular were noticed even in worshiping centers. Thanks to Paul, he uses the analogy of the unity of all the parts of our body to remind the Corinthian church of the importance of the unity of the Church- the Body of Christ.   I am sure this sound familiar. Irrespective of our color, height, size, looks, in Christ we are one in Christ to whom we were all baptized.

In our world today, plagued and wounded with obvious division, war, distrust among nations, discriminations of all kind, the significance of today’s Pentecost cannot be overemphasized.  It is only Christ and the Spirit of God that can change or bring freshness and renewal to the face of the earth, as well as the courage to share the good news and God’s given gifts with others.

We pray at this mass that the Spirit of the Lord, that Pentecost brings may renew  the face of our  earth with unity,  replaces our sicknesses with good health and our sorrows with joy.