HOMILY FOR PENTECOST SUNDAY YEAR C
THEME: WE ARE CHILDREN OF THE PENTECOST!
BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JUNE 5 2022
(ACTS 2:1-11,1CORINTHIANS 12:3B-7,12-13, OR ROM 8:8-17; JOHN14:15-16,23B-26)
The season of Easter concludes with today’s celebration, the feast of Pentecost. It is the celebration of the d the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem; this event marks the beginning of the Church. The story of Pentecost is found in the Acts of the Apostles, as we heard in the first reading. We celebrate this solemnity of fifty (50) days after Easter as the fullness of Easter itself. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us any strength of faith that we may have. Easter is the feast of the light, of the new life that begins with Christ’s resurrection. Pentecost is the celebration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It marks the beginning and the birth of the public life of the Church. Just as Jesus died and was raised to life by the Spirit of the Father, so also, we must live our life in that same Spirit of the Father, as sisters and brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The ministry of Jesus started with the coming of the Spirit at his Baptism, and so the ministry of the Church begins with the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. There can be no witness to Jesus or to his message, no spreading of the Kingship of God, without the Spirit of Jesus. The task of the Church and the life of the Church are the same as those of Jesus himself: to bring God’s kingship to its fulfilment by bringing healing, love, and joy through the message of the Risen Christ. We celebrate the feast that reversed the tower of Babel where everyone went their separate ways and did their own thing. Their community fractured.
Our first reading relates the events of the coming of the Holy Spirit as a great manifestation of God’s power. The speaking in different tongues that were understood by all the Jews that came to Jerusalem for the celebration of the feast of Pentecost was a miracle of a clear manifestation of the mission of the universal church. It is a call for the church to be a sign of human unity. This is irrespective of race, colour or language. So, the new message is the fulfilment of the Old Testament, breaking out beyond the borders of Judaism and the twelve tribes of Israel to include all peoples of the world. The union of all these peoples, all understanding one language in their own way, is a deliberate contrast to the scene at the Tower of Babel, when all the peoples of the world were split up by their inability to understand one another’s languages. The list of unpronounceable peoples is itself a witness to the universality of the Church Pentecost is the celebration of the fact that we are now, all of us, more than what can be measured by sight, more than what can be discerned through earthly assessment. We are more than the sum of our transcripts, credit reports, and résumés, more than the rude reckonings of our bathroom mirrors and our bathroom scales. Yes, we are all that, yet we cannot be properly appraised by human wit alone. In the second reading, Paul reminds us of the fact that, by virtue of our “Pentecostal experience” today, an indelible mark as children of God has been placed upon us. Hence, we have been specially configured into a unique relationship with God as heirs of his Kingdom.
The Gospel reminds us that the Church is called to be a reconciling presence in the world. This reconciling presence of Christ is celebrated in the Church’s sacramental life. In the Sacrament of Baptism, we are washed clean from sin and become a new creation in Christ. In the Sacrament of Penance, the Church celebrates the mercy of God in forgiving sins. This reconciling presence is also to be a way of life for Christians. In situations of conflict, we are to be agents of peace and harmony among people.
At the heart of our Christian life, fear is taken away, peace and forgiveness are given. May we dispel the fears of others and proclaim the peace and forgiveness given to us in Christ Jesus. Come, Holy Spirit.
Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara