My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Pentecost is such a beautiful feast of our Catholic faith! Today, we celebrate the day when our Catholic Church was born, when she received the promise of his Holy Spirit!
So this morning we want to ask our heavenly Father to renew this gift of his Spirit within us and within our Church. We want to ask Jesus to renew us with the fire of his divine love.
Jesus once said that he came to cast fire on the earth.2 And that fire was started at the first Pentecost.
As we heard in our first reading today, the Spirit came down upon Mary and the apostles in tongues of fire. And they all began proclaiming — in every language of the earth — the mighty works of God.
Pentecost reveals the mission of the Church. And Pentecost reveals our mission as his disciples.
The fire that started at Pentecost is meant to keep burning in us, my brothers and sisters. We are called to carry on the mission of Jesus. We are called to proclaim the mighty works of God — his salvation and good news — to every nation under heaven. Just as Mary and the apostles did at that first Pentecost.
This has a special meaning for you — my dear brothers and sisters who are going to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this morning. Because Confirmation is the sacrament of Christian mission. Confirmation makes us apostles.
Today in this Sacrament, his Holy Spirit is going to come upon each one of you with power. To strengthen you for your mission of being his apostles. To confirm you in your task of being his instruments of love in this world.
All of us here this morning have received his Spirit in our Baptism and Confirmation. And his Spirit gives us each a personal calling — a part to play in the Pentecost mission of his Church.
The words of Jesus that we hear in our Gospel today are spoken to each of us: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
Jesus is sending us out into the world. He is sending us out into our homes, the places where we work, our neighborhoods. He wants us to redeem this world — one heart at a time. He wants us to help our loved ones and the people we meet every day — to help them get to heaven.
Jesus sends us out as messengers of his peace and forgiveness. He sends us to tell everyone the good news of God’s mercy and love. We need to tell them that in Jesus, they can know salvation through the forgiveness of sins.
Our world really needs to hear this message of forgiveness. So many of our brothers and sisters drift away from God. And the problem is that a lot of them think they aren’t worthy of God’s love. They can’t image that God is interested in them. They think their sins can’t be forgiven.
But we know the good news — that that’s not true. The gift of the Spirit to the apostles includes to power to forgive sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. “Whose sins you forgive, are forgiven them!”
This is one of the most beautiful promises in all of the Gospel. So we need to try to be people of peace and reconciliation. In our words and deeds, we need to be always trying to open the doors of heaven to everyone.
My brothers and sisters, this is our beautiful Pentecost mission.
And to carry out this mission, we need to have a deeper, more personal relationship with the Holy Spirit.
St. Paul tells us in our second reading this morning that we need to live by the Spirit.
We all need to be more aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our souls. We need to be praying to the Spirit a lot — asking for his guidance. We need to let the Spirit lead us to a new conversion, more and more every day — sanctifying us, making us more like image of Jesus Christ.
Never forget, my brothers and sisters — you are temples of the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul used to say. He is dwelling within each one of us, in the center of our soul. The Spirit is with us! Always stirring in us the desire for virtue and holiness. The desire to tell the world that Jesus is Lord. So we need to listen to him! We need to be docile to his inspirations.
So my brothers and sisters, let’s try to really live Pentecost! Like those first apostles did.
Let’s try to live by the Spirit and follow the Spirit. Let’s try to look for new ways to share the fruits of the Spirit — love, joy and peace; patience, kindness and generosity; faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
And let’s pray as the apostles did, with his mother Mary — for a new Pentecost in our days. So that the fire of love in our hearts may inspire others — until the whole world is on fire with the love of God.
1. Readings (Pentecost Sunday, Year B): Acts 2:1-11; Ps. 104:1, 24, 29-31; Gal. 5:16-25; John 20:19-23.
2. Luke 12:39.