HOMILY FOR PENTECOST SUNDAY – YEAR B

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HOMILY FOR PENTECOST SUNDAY – YEAR B

HOMILY THEME: THE HOLY SPIRIT UNIFIES AND RENEWS

BY: Fr. Peter Gabriel Okon

Acts 2:1-11/Psalm 104:1ab &24ac, 29bc-30, 31 & 34/ Galatians 5:16-25/ Accl. Jn 14:18/ John 15:26-27, 16:12-15.

Pentecost Sunday marks officially the end of the season of Easter – a fifty days journey from the Sunday of Resurrection to the Sunday of “Regeneration” or “Recreation”. It is here referred to as the Feast or Sunday of regeneration or Recreation because of the visible effects of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Apostles, and indeed the entire early Church.

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The effects of the Holy Spirit are differently expressed in our readings today, namely;
i) The Holy Spirit renews, gives life.
ii) The Holy Spirit teaches.
iii) The Holy Spirit unifies.
iv) The Holy Spirit inspires.
v) The Holy Spirit prays with and for us.
vi) The Holy Spirit illumines.
The breathe of God, the Holy Spirit comes only to unite, to teach, to inspire, to assist us in prayers and breathe life into our dry bones (Ezekiel 37: 1-14). Anything aside from these might be coming from the evil one, aiming to cause confusion and destruction.

One thing usually associated with the Pentecost experience and mostly misunderstood or abused is the speaking in tongues. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim” (Act 2:4). I want us to pay attention to the phrase, …”as the Spirit enabled them”. The Apostles did not rehearse some abrakadash and spit them out randomly, at their own will and prompting to excite the people, nor were the people unable to understand what was spoken by the Apostles. The Holy Spirit simply communicated through them, and the purpose was to unified those who gathered from all races and language. The people understood them in their different languages (cf Act 2:6-8). There was understanding. The Holy Spirit speaks unity, speaks love, speaks peace, and not fear, confusion and division.

Therefore, let us not let ourselves be deceived by men and women parading themselves as mouthpiece of God, utilizing and weaponizing the “Holy Ghost” against the very people the Spirit should serve. However, to give in to such “cheap” mischief can be a sign of ignorance, little faith or lack of faith altogether (Hosea 4:6). One of the gift of the Holy Spirit is right judgement or discernment. These can help us to discern all spirits as St John admonishes, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1John 4:1). We all need this gift of discernment especially at this age of proliferation of false prophecies and prophets.

The Apostles have been praying in anticipation of the promise of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete and Advocate and today that promise is fulfilled. They received the gifts of the Holy Spirit and manifested same. Having been impacted, they left the upper room to bear witness everywhere. Their gifts were not kept to themselves, but used for the good and growth of the Faith. St Paul in our second reading, Gal.5:16-25 warns against gratifying the desires of the flesh, rather to open ourselves to the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so that we can rightly bear the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (cf Gal. 5:22).

With the right disposition and preparations, we like the Apostles can receive the Holy Spirit with His various gifts and charisma. And as we receive them, let us go out to the street corners, our neighborhood and everywhere to speak peace, unity, love, breathing upon souls that had gone dry, downcast, alienated, rejected and forsaken, the new life of the Spirit.

Lord send forth your Spirit and renew the face of the earth Amen.
Wishing you a refreshing Pentecost experience.

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