Homily Solemnity of Pentecost Year C Role of the Spirit

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Homily Solemnity of Pentecost Year C

Gospel: In John’s theology, though there is a time factor in the pascal mystery—the birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, the coming of the Spirit and Jesus’ second coming in glory—theologically they cannot be separated. Jesus’ death and resurrection was connected with the coming of the Holy Spirit.

John said that when Jesus died, he gave up his spirit, a symbol of the gift of his Spirit to those who believe in him. On Easter, he imparts that Spirit to the disciples. First, he shows them two things. His appearance is not that of a ghost, but one with a resurrected, glorified body. Second, he imparts his peace upon them—his forgiveness of their infidelity and abandonment of him.

Then he reminds them of their future mission in the context of his own mission. “As the Father sent me, so I send you.” What did the Father send him to do? He was sent to proclaim the good news of salvation, to heal the sick, to set free those under the bondage of Satan. Their mission was the same—to take his word and actions and bring them to the whole world.

How did Jesus in his humanity do this? Luke tells us Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit after his baptism. Afterward, he went about in the power of the Holy Spirit with signs and wonders as his credentials.

Then he breathed on them, imparting the gift of the Spirit to them. Afterwards, he specified one aspect of their ministry, the forgiveness of sin sacramentally.

Why does John talk about the imparting of the Holy Spirit on Easter and Luke says the Spirit was poured upon the disciples fifty days later? Like us, in confirmation we receive the fresh anointing of the Spirit, but for the most part nothing changes in us. They needed a fresh stirring up as a result of their repentance, giving their lives to Jesus and being open.
Reading 1: At Christmas, we celebrated the mystery of the coming of the Son of God in flesh, the birth of the God-Man Jesus. At Easter we celebrated the mystery of our redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus, our Savior. At the Ascension, we celebrated the completion of Jesus’ earthy mission as he returned to the Father in glory. Today, Pentecost, we celebrated the mystery of the fulfilled promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit.

What does the first reading tell us about this mystery of revelation? Jesus had told them before the Ascension, “in a few days you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit…and when he comes you will receive power to be my witnesses throughout the world.” From the Ascension to Pentecost—ten days—the disciples and Mary were in prayer, asking Jesus to fulfill his promise. This suggests that, as in Jesus’ own life and teaching, the Holy Spirit comes in a fresh new way as a result of prayer.

As they gathered in the Upper Room in prayer and sharing, the Spirit came upon them and all were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to manifest gifts of the Spirit. They were praising God in different languages than their own, proclaiming the might deeds of God. With the coming of the Spirit there is a great rejoicing.

As we continue to read the Acts of the Apostles, we will see that the fresh anointing of the Spirit transformed them from being fearful to being bold, from having watched Jesus heal the sick, set captives free from the power of Satan, to doing the same things in his name. They began to witness the truth that Jesus is Lord and Savior, confirmed by signs and wonders.

Reading 2: Paul reminds us that even to acknowledge Jesus as Lord publicly is a grace of the Holy Spirit. Then he reminds us that there are different gifts of the Spirit. He identifies some of the gifts, though extraordinary, are meant to be part of the ordinary life of one filled with the Holy Spirit. He teaches that the Spirit produces all the spiritual gifts in everyone.
Potentially, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we have all the gifts of the Spirit, even though we do not always exercise all the gifts. These gifts are given for the benefit of others. Just as the parts of the human body serve the needs of the whole body, so the gifts of the Spirit are for the up building of the Body of Christ.

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