Pentecost Sunday B


They were all huddled together in an upper room.  The apostles had endured a lot.  They had known the terror of the crucifixion, the exhilaration of the resurrection and now they had witnessed the ascension of Jesus to heaven and were left anxiously waiting what was next and what this experience was to mean to them.  Buoyed by the mother of Jesus, they stick together and they pray.


Then everything changes in a moment.  With tongues of fire hanging over their heads and a mighty rush of wind, the promised Holy Spirit settled upon them.  And they burst forth from that room literally unable to contain themselves as the preached boldly the word of God and the good news of Jesus Christ to all around them.


What happened?  The miracles of Pentecost tell the story.  Yes, there were tongues of fire, but the real miracle was the fire over their heads became the fire that burned within them.  And those timid men, fearful that the hate that destroyed Jesus would pursue them, suddenly and boldly proclaim Jesus Christ.  Yes, there was a great wind, but the real miracle is that it had switched direction.  The wind had stung their face in the loss of Christ at the cross and his absence since the Ascension, but now it was at their back, pushing out of their room, compelling them to be witnesses of Jesus to everyone.  So strongly it blew that they would never turn back.  And finally, those Jews gathered from different lands as they came to Jerusalem to celebrate their Feast of Pentecost, could hear the apostles speak in their own native language.  But the real miracle was that their hearts were as open to as their ears, and what they truly heard was the fulfillment of the promise that sustained their dreams.  It was as if they heard for the first time the lyrics of a song they had been waiting for their whole life.


We have known this experience without the accompanying miracles, for what happened to the apostles at Pentecost happened to us at in the waters of baptism.  The Spirit which descended upon them inundated us.  And now that Spirit is within us.  Pentecost is within us.  And that is a good thing because look around.  We need a new Pentecost.


Each of us could use a new Pentecost, a new awakening of the Spirit.  I need a new Pentecost.  I need to better trust where the Spirt is leading me and to let go of my anxiety, especially for the Church which is not mine but God’s anyway.  Where do you need Pentecost in your life?   Where do you want to employ the Spirit to build up or heal or forgive?  We all need a Pentecost.


Our families need a new Pentecost.  We need the Spirit of forgiveness so that we can summon the courage to say, “I’m sorry.”  And the courage to forgive.  We need to entrust ourselves more fully to those God has given us to be closest to us and to be honest for the Spirit can only work in an environment of true feeling and openness.  It can be accomplished in little ways.  If you came home from school this week and were able to answer the question “What happened at school today?” with anything other than “Nothing,” that would be a Pentecost. 


Our communities need a new Pentecost for this is a Spirt that knows no boundaries whether it is between countries where people cross for a better life or cities.  The Spirit sees no difference between Schenectady and Niskayuna, between rich and power, the powerful and the weak.  If that is not how the Holy Spirit looks at the world, then how can we look differently?  And we need to say no to violence and to lay down our arms for a Spirt if peace inhabits us. 


We need a new Pentecost for our country.  At the first Pentecost, people from all different lands could hear the proclamation of the Gospel in their native tongues.  Yet, here it seems that even those who share a common language cannot hear the other.  The Spirit is the one that us communicate heart to heart.  It is a Spirit of reconciliation and hope, not fear and anger.


We need a new Pentecost for our planet.  All things were created through the Spirit; therefore it has all been touched by God and contains within it a certain kind of perfection.  The Holy Spirit calls us to communion with nature not exploitation or devastation.


And we need a new Pentecost for our Church.  We need a new burst of energy and of hope.  We need to be more the seat of mercy than the seat of judgment.  We need to be known for inclusion and not  exclusion.  We need to have that great rush of wind blow us out of these doors to the periphery so that the poor and sick may know healing, the hungry and thirsting may know fulfillment and the left out will know belonging.  We need to carry the good news as if it truly was good.  Imagine a world filled with joyous, happy, singing and smiling Catholics.  Now that really would be a Pentecost.


And the best of the good news is that Pentecost is already here.  Every day is Pentecost because the Spirit is already alive.  Pentecost is here because the Spirit is within you.  If you want a new Pentecost, simply let that Spirit out.