Saturday, June 7, 2014

06-08-2014 -- Pentecost Sunday, Year A

June 08, 2014 - Pentecost Sunday, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

When our Gospel begins, we find the disciples behind locked doors in the upper room because they are afraid.

Fear makes us do this. Hide and lock ourselves away. Where have we seen this before?

Adam and Eve in the garden, after they eat the fruit they’ve been told not to touch, are now afraid. So, they hide themselves. But God goes through the garden to find them.

And Jesus passes through those locked door to stand in their midst, bringing them peace.

This peace is meant to calm their fears and free them from hiding so that they can go out into the world and do the work he called them to.

Last week, we learned that we can’t just stand around waiting, but that we are called to be a Church that helps those in need, a Church that loves the unlovable, a Church called to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world.

Jesus understands that this is daunting. Jesus knows that it can be scary and that the fear of doing the things we’ve been called to do can sometimes paralyze us into doing nothing at all.

And so, just as Jesus did for the disciples in the locked room, he comes and stands in our midst and says, “Peace be with you.”

And Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit on each one of us so that we can be empowered, so that we can be people of courage rather than fear.

The Holy Spirit of God empowers us to be disciples who are not afraid to love those others might choose to avoid:
  • the immigrant laborer
  • the unwed mother
  • the drug-addicted young adult
  • the spouse struggling with depression
  • the gay teenager
  • the disabled veteran
  • the frazzled store clerk
  • the person who tests the patience of everyone else

Every one of us has, by virtue of our baptism and confirmation, been given the gift of the same Holy Spirit that Jesus breathed on his disciples.

Every one of us has access to the same peace and courage that the Spirit offers.

But sometimes we forget and the Church knows that.

So, each year, we are given this Feast of Pentecost so that we can remember the incredible gifts that God has poured out upon us.

Today is the day when we celebrate that we no longer have to be afraid.

We celebrate that even though we were once in darkness, hidden away behind locked doors, we have a God who breaks through those unlocked doors.

We have a God who brings us out of darkness into the light with abundant peace so that we do not ever have to be afraid again.

What does that peace and freedom and courage look like among Jesus’ disciples today?
We show forth the gifts of the Holy Spirit when we no longer act out of fear.

When we don’t let fear keep us from growing into the saints we are called to be.

When we aren’t afraid to love in abundance because the Spirit shows us that an abundance of love can only produce more love.

When we do not allow fear of the unknown to keep us from change, committing ourselves to doing the things necessary to be more present to those who are most important to us.

When we do not let fear keep us stuck in our addictions, allowing the Spirit to help us get rid of those things that threaten our relationship with Christ, addictions to alcohol or drugs, sex or pornography, our own anger, or social media.

When we do not allow fear to keep us from committing ourselves to take on tasks and responsibilities within the life of our church parish.

When we do not allow fear to keep us hidden such that we no longer seek God in the sacraments of reconciliation or the Eucharist.

On this Pentecost, we have the opportunity to ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with courage and strength to overcome our fears.

We ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with insight and wisdom so that we can make the best decisions about how to live our lives.

Jesus said, “Peace be with you.”
And he breathed on them and said, “receive the Holy Spirit.”

They received the Holy Spirit and stepped out from behind those locked doors.

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