YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF PENTECOST SUNDAY
HOMILY THEME: BE FILLED WITH THE POWER OF GOD’S SPIRIT
BY: Fr. Cosmas Ukadike, C.M.
HOMILY: God’s spirit that hovered over the waters at the beginning of creation (Gens 1, 2), was what inspired the prophets and saints to announce the good news even before the coming of Christ (Nums 11, 16-17). And as a matter of fact, it was trough the power of this same spirit that Jesus’ conception in the womb of Mary was made possible (Lk 1, 35).
This same spirit will anoint Jesus as he gets set to begin his public ministry(Lk 4,18 ; Acts 10, 38).
However, there’s something unique about the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. Among other significance, is the fact of Jesus’ glorification which has taken place through his paschal mystery and Ascension to the Father. This was why he said, “if I do not go, the Holy Spirit will not come” (Jn 16, 7).
Thus the effect of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the Energizing and empowerment of the Apostles which gave birth to the Church.
On this day, the spirit was poured out upon the Church for witnessing and to enhance the work of evangelization (Acts 1, 8). The Pentecost came as a fulfillment of the prophecies of old in which God promised his people of streams of living water:
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (Jn 7, 37-39).
Water cannot be held back when it is in a torrent; everything in its path is pushed out of the way. So it is with the Holy Spirit. But there is a difference: when a flood comes upon us it’s not of our own will that the water comes, and the water destroys things that are precious to us. But the flood of the Holy Spirit comes not to destroy but to make us whole, if we desire it. It Emboldens us and empowers us to propagate the gospel as Peter did on the first Pentecost.
This Pentecostal experience that was given to the Apostles on behalf of the Church is today being transmitted through the Bishops in the sacrament of Confirmation. This is done when the Bishop says while anointing the candidate with the oil of chrism saying; “be sealed with the Holy spirit”.
However, at each Pentecost, the church is once again revived by the out pouring of God’s spirit, which can happen even outside of the sacraments, as in the case of St. Peter and Cornelius, when the spirit came down just as it did on the day of Pentecost upon the household of Cornelius before the sacrament was administered to them.
The person and work of the Holy Spirit is indispensable in the life of a Christian, because no one can say that Jesus is Lord unless he is prompted by the Holy spirit (1 Cor 12, 3). Thus only those who are lead by the spirit of God are the sons and daughters of God (Romans 8, 14).
Furthermore, In the Nicean Creed we proclaim the Holy Spirit as “the Lord the giver of life” meaning that our entire life is hinged on the Holy Spirit and since he is the spirit of Jesus; it is only “in him we can live and move and have our being” (Act 17, 28).
Therefore, we must constantly call on him as the Psalmist did today to always come to our help and to renew the face of our world (103).
We need the Holy spirit to teach us everything, and remind us of all that Jesus has taught us to do (Jn 14, 26).
May we be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and may the Holy Spirit dispel every spirit of fear and timidity in us.
Happy Pentecost Sunday!
Remain blessed forever more.
Fr. Cosmas Ukadike, C.M.