‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ .Lord, send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.

‘When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.’

Today is a great Christian holiday. Today is Pentecost, a day that ranks with Christmas and Easter in its relative importance to the church. Pentecost is the birthday of the church. The church was born on that day so long ago when the followers of Jesus were meeting in Jerusalem and the Holy Spirit descended upon them.

Just as every birthday celebrates the beginning of life, so too is it an occasion for asking ourselves, “Where do we go from here?” What was begun with fire that changed forever the lives of the Apostles can remind us that our Baptism and Confirmation “branded” and empowered us to be followers of Jesus. Whether or not we are always conscious of being marked for life with the fire of the Spirit, those sacraments changed us forever. The question we ask today is “How serious am I about my role as a Catholic Christian, and how determined am I to let the Holy Spirit change me in the years of life that are left to me?”

Today we live again the experience of that first Pentecost when the Upper Room in Jerusalem shook with hurricane force as the wind of God’s Spirit and the fire of His love descended on twelve apostles, changing them forever. They rushed out into the streets and boldly proclaimed the truth of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. As thousands were baptized that day, the Church was born in the presence of Christ’s own mother and countless other witnesses. Today, through the Eucharist, we celebrate the Holy Spirit’s coming again to give a “booster shot” to all of us. As the fire of the Spirit burned out sin and weakness in the first apostles, so too can it burn out any sin that stubbornly prevents the light and truth of Christ from changing us. Today, the Church is reborn in the power of the Spirit’s gifts. He comes to make all of us free through the daily practice of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Pentecost is a renewal of the life of the Church, and a renewal of discipleship in us!

It came from God like tongues of fire, and the fire rested on each one of them, and they were all filled with God’s Spirit, and empowered for the great work of God….. the sharing of the story of Jesus Christ and the promise of salvation. What a birthday party that must have been! What a celebration they had! It was exciting! The people there were rejoicing! It was a wild and reckless time as they were filled with the Spirit of God. Onlookers thought they were drunk with new wine — but it wasn’t wine that made them so happy. It was joy they felt at the birth pangs of God’s church.

We pray:

Lord Jesus, as God’s Spirit came down and rested upon you, May the same Spirit rest on us, Bestowing his sevenfold gifts.
First, grant us the gift of understanding, By which your precepts may enlighten our minds. Second, grant us counsel, by which we may follow in your footsteps on the path of righteousness. Third, grant us courage, by which we may ward off the enemy’s attacks. Fourth, grant us knowledge, by which we can distinguish good from evil. Fifth, grant us piety, by which we may acquire compassionate hearts. Sixth, grant us fear, by which we may draw back from evil and submit to what is good. Seventh, grant us wisdom, that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.

Holy Spirit, you poured yourself out on the people of the early church, pour yourself out on us now.Holy Spirit you set their tongues on fire with languages so as to speak to one another in ways that could be understood. Set our tongues on fire to speak in different languages and ways so others may hear the good news about Jesus. Jesus, you said you had to go away so that the Holy Spirit, the advocate, the counselor would come and it was so. Come once again Holy Spirit as the advocate that we all need, as the counselor we all need, and as the helper we all need. Come Holy Spirit, fan your flames of love and empowerment, set us on fire for you once again. Bring life to each of our dry bones. Amen.



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