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Pentecost—31 May AD 2020
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  The Virgin Mary and the Apostles at Pentecost

[Ordinary of the Mass]
[English Mass Text]
[Latin Mass Text]
[Pentecost Holy Water]

“When the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close they were all together in one place,
and parted tongues of fire settled upon them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost.”

    Today, Pentecost Sunday, commemorates the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles.  Following only Easter and, perhaps, Christmas it is clearly one of the most important events in the history of our salvation.  It is said in a very real sense that on this day the Catholic Church came fully into being and "swung into action" as we heard today from the Acts of the Apostles.

    Before His Ascension, our Lord had promised the Apostles that He would send another Advocate, the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, to be with them at all times, “teaching them all things and bringing to mind whatever He had said to them.”[2]  Our Lord was not abandoning the apostles.  He would remain with them (and with us) in the Blessed Sacrament, through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass—and He would also be with us through the Holy Ghost, who would dwell in the Church and in us on a continuous basis.

    We might say that the Holy Ghost has a two-fold mission on earth.  A mission to the Church in general; as it were, the “soul” that gives life to the Mystical Body of Christ.  But He also has a mission to each one of us personally; sanctifying each one of us who responds positively to the graces He offers.

    As concerns the Church, we see in today's reading that He furnished it with some rather spectacular powers—the ability to understand and be understood in a myriad of foreign languages; in order to facilitate the rapid growth of the Church.  He provided the apostolic Church with a variety of such gifts, which are also known by the Greek name of “charisms.”  Powers to heal, and to prophesy, and to teach, and to cast out the devil, and to confer the Holy Ghost on others.  These charisms were spectacular in nature, intended by God to demonstrate His approval of the apostles' work.  At least in the spectacular sense, they lasted only with the generation of the apostles—although every priest and bishop retains these powers in a less visible way through the action of the various sacraments.

    The Paraclete is also the Soul of the Mystical Body of the Church in that by virtue of the Holy Ghost the Pope and bishops are restrained from speaking error when they exercise their supreme teaching office.  The Pope acting alone, or together with the bishops, is infallible when teaching as the head of the Church on matters of Faith or Morals.[3]

    The second mission of the Holy Ghost is to us as individuals.  To those of us in the state of grace, He is an indwelling presence; God literally with us at all times.  He is the power by which all of the sacraments operate to make us holy.  He dispenses to us the graces merited for us by Jesus Christ.  Above all He brings the sanctifying grace that quite literally brings the life of God to our souls—this can even be an “uncreated grace” in that the grace is actually God Himself living within us.  We are truly “temples of the Holy Ghost.”

    And this sanctifying grace endows us with powers that we can have in no other way—powers that enable us to rise above the level of our humble human nature in order to communicate with God on a supernatural level.  

    We speak of the “three theological virtues,” and “the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.”

    The theological virtues: Faith, Hope, and Charity enable us to believe in what God has revealed to us;  to trust that God will enable us to work out our salvation in cooperation with Him;  and to love God and to love our fellow man for the love of God.

    The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost are Wisdom to recognize the importance of God above all else;  Understanding by which we recognize the truths of the Catholic Faith, distinguishing them from all errors;  Counsel to discover the will of God under the difficult circumstances of our lives;  Fortitude or strength to persevere in doing God's will;  Knowledge to grasp the truths of the Faith;  Piety by which we accept God as our Father and conform ourselves to His will;  and Fear of the Lord so that we might be more concerned with pleasing God than with pleasing other people.

    We also know that the Holy Ghost transforms and perfects us in ourselves and with respect to those around us.  This transformation is often referred to as the "fruit of the Holy Ghost."  Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, and Longsuffering act to perfect us with respect to ourselves.  Goodness, Kindness, Mildness, and Fidelity serve to perfect us through our relationships with our neighbors.  Modesty, Continency, and Chastity help to regulate our appetites and control our desires.

    Exordium:  Clearly these things are all important to our salvation, which cannot be worked out without God through the Holy Ghost.  But it should be obvious to all concerned:  The Holy Ghost comes only to the holy;  to a holy Church;  and to holy people.

    Now, any sermon like this would be incomplete without stating that we have only one hope for achieving this holiness:  The Blessed Virgin Mary.  Mary is the Bride of the Holy Ghost, through Whose power she was “overshadowed” and became the Mother of God, the Mother of Christ, the Mother of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Mother of the Church.  Mary is also our Mother, given to us in the person of Saint John by her Son as He hung upon the Cross.[4]

    So as we celebrate this feast of the Holy Ghost, we celebrate also His spouse, our Blessed Mother.  Pray for the Church and strive to be a worthy dwelling for the Holy Ghost.  Pray to be true sons and daughters of MARY.


[2]   Gospel: John: xiv:23 -31  (Verse 26)

[3]   Vatican I, Session 4, 18 July 1871, Chapter 4, No. 9

    We teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals.  Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable.




Dei via est íntegra


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