REFLECTION/HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE PENTECOST SUNDAY – YEAR B

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REFLECTION/HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE PENTECOST SUNDAY – YEAR B

HOMILY THEME: THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

BY: Fr. Ugochukwu Ugwoke, ISch

Acts 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23

Between the moments of his resurrection from the dead and his ascension into heaven, Jesus made some promises to his disciples. One is the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Advocate who would guide, empower and remain with the disciples forever (John 14:16-17; John 16:7). The other is the promise of his return. Just before his ascension, Jesus promised his disciples that he would return in the same way he ascended into heaven (Acts 1:11).

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Pentecost is a celebration of the fulfilment of the promise of Jesus to his disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit to guide (as Teacher and Counselor), empower (as Advocate), and be with them forever (as Comforter). As we read in today’s first reading, the Holy Spirit came on the Pentecost day, (that is, fifty days after Easter) while the disciples were gathered in prayer. The dramatic signs of wind and fire symbolize the transformative power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:2-4). Wind represents the breath of God, bringing new life and renewal as we saw in the creation of man and restoration of the dry bones (Genesis 2:7; Ezekiel 37:9-10), while fire symbolizes purification and the presence of God as in the burning bush (Exodus 3:2).

Before the coming of the Holy Spirit, the apostles were filled with fear and could not move openly. However, when the Holy Spirit came upon them, the same apostles, who had been hiding in fear, were suddenly emboldened to speak openly about Jesus. The gift of tongues allowed them to communicate the Gospel to people from various nations, symbolizing the universal nature of the Christian message (Acts 2:6-11). The Holy Spirit broke down barriers of language and culture, uniting people in their understanding of God’s mighty works.

In the second reading, Paul in his letter to the Corinthians reminds us that the Holy Spirit bestows a variety of gifts upon believers. These gifts are not for personal gain but for the common good, to build up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). The diversity of gifts reflects the richness of the Spirit’s work in the Church. Just as a body relies on different parts to function properly, the Church relies on the diverse gifts of its members to carry out its mission. This diversity, however, is rooted in unity. The Spirit creates a bond among believers, making them one in Christ. This unity is essential for the Church’s mission. It is a powerful witness to the world of the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. When we use our gifts in harmony, we reflect the unity and love of the Triune God.

In the Gospel, Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit onto his disciples, granting them peace and the authority to forgive sins. This act is significant because it underscores the connection between the Holy Spirit and the ministry of reconciliation. The peace Jesus offers is not just the absence of conflict but a deep, abiding peace that comes from being reconciled with God and with one another. Forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian message. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are called to forgive as we have been forgiven. This ministry of reconciliation is crucial for the Church’s witness in the world. In a world often marked by division and strife, the Church is called to be a beacon of forgiveness and peace.

As we celebrate Pentecost, we are reminded that the Holy Spirit continues to work in and through us today. The Spirit empowers us to live out our faith boldly and to use our gifts for the benefit of others. We are called to be witnesses to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We must remain open to the Spirit’s guidance, allowing Him to renew and transform us continually. This openness requires prayer, discernment, and a willingness to step out in faith. The Holy Spirit equips us to face the challenges of our time with courage and hope.

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