On this Pentecost Sunday, the 1st reading (Acts 2:1-11) narrates the birth of the Church. We are told that the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles like the rush of a violent wind, with tongues as of fire dancing on their heads, and although the apostle, Peter, was speaking in Aramaic, people from all nations heard him in their own native language. What an experience in unity in diversity! When it comes to the gospel, we may be diverse in gender, color, race, culture, and ethnicity, but it is still the one baptism, one God, one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, one creator, with justice and equality for all. The Pentecost message is singular; that Jesus Christ is the only one Lord, no matter who we are, how we are, where we are, and what language we speak; for at the foot of the Cross, there are no hills and valleys, no upstairs and downstairs, and no Jews and Gentiles. No wonder, the Psalmist, on this Pentecost Day, prays, “Lord send forth your spirit, and renew the face of the earth.”
Yes, our Pentecost experience, on this day, will most probably not be marked by any violent wind, fire, or speaking in tongues, and that is very okay because we are not gathered to celebrate the wind and the fire. Instead, we are gathered to worship the God behind the wind and fire; the God, as the 2nd reading tells us, who has gifted each and every one of us, young and old, men and women, with a variety of gifts to be used for the growth of His kingdom on earth. My friends, it takes a village to raise a child; it takes all of us to create a vibrant and a spirit-filled Church, here at St. Michael’s parish. May our Pentecost celebration lead us to examine our hearts as to how we are using our God given gifts to build and sustain His Church here at St. Michael and the Church at-large! It is also important for us to remember that the Pentecost miracle happened when the apostles were all together in one place, and it happened when devout Jews from every nation under heaven were gathered in prayer. That is not a coincidence. The fact of the matter is that something important happens when we are gathered together in Jesus’ name to fellowship, to worship, to break bread, to adore and praise God and Christ Jesus in Eucharistic adoration, and when we are devoted in prayer as a community. This is where the miracle of Pentecost continues to be enjoyed and realized in the Church today. No wonder Scripture says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
In the gospel reading, Jesus breathes on the Apostles and told them to receive the Holy Spirit, and then charged them to go and witness to the ends of the earth. At our Baptism and Confirmation, we received the Holy Spirit, and so we are fully equipped to go and share our faith— to let others know where to go to receive God’s promises, to receive the forgiveness of sins; where to receive true joy, meaning, blessedness, and true eternal and abundant life; and where to go and find rest for our souls—the Body of Christ, the Church. The Church is the one place where, miraculously, the Holy Spirit comes again and again to those gathered in prayer, in Jesus’ name, to break bread and to fellowship with one another. May the grace of God lead us always to fellowship with the community of saints that we may continue to partake in the Pentecost experience, Amen!