PENTECOST SUNDAY: ACTS

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Pentecost (June 12): Acts. 2:1-11; I Cor. 12:3-7, 12-13; John. 20:19-23




                                Anecdote # 1: "Well, Chippie doesn’t sing much
anymore.” It happened in Galveston, TX. A woman was cleaning the bottom of
the cage of her parrot Chippie with the canister vacuum cleaner. She was not
using an attachment on the tube. When the telephone rang, she turned her head
to pick it up, continuing to vacuum the cage as she said, "Hello," into the phone.
Then she heard the horrible noise of Chippie being sucked into the vacuum.
Immediately she put down the phone, ripped open the vacuum bag, and found
Chippie in there, stunned but still alive. Since the bird was covered with dust
and dirt, she grabbed it, ran it into the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held
the bird under the water to clean it off. When she finished that, she saw the hair
dryer on the bathroom sink. She turned it on and held the bird in front of the
blast of hot air to dry him off. A few weeks later, a reporter from the newspaper
that originally published the story went out to the house to ask the woman,
"How’s Chippie doing now?" She said, “He just sort of sits and stares." Today’s
gospel tells us that it was what happened to the apostles. They all were
traumatized by the arrest and crucifixion of their master and bewildered by his
post-resurrection appearances and his command to prepare for the coming of his
Holy Spirit. Many of us can identify with Chippie and the apostles. Life has
sucked us up, thrown cold water on us, and blown us away. Somewhere in the
trauma, we have lost our song. Hence we too need the daily anointing of the
Holy Spirit to keep us singing songs of Christian witnessing through agape love.
http://www.biblestudyresources.com/devotionals/jesus/he_keeps_me_singing.htm

# 2: Treasure within: An old beggar lay on his deathbed. His last words were to
his youngest son who had been his constant companion during his begging trips.
 “Dear son," he said, “I have nothing to give you except a cotton bag and a dirty
bronze bowl which I got in my younger days from the junk yard of a rich lady.”
After his father’s death, the boy continued begging, using the bowl his father had
given him. One day a gold merchant dropped a coin in the boy’s bowl and he
was surprised to hear a familiar clinking sound. “Let me check your bowl,” the
merchant said. To his great surprise, he found that the beggar’s bowl was made
of pure gold. “My dear young man," he said, “why do you waste your time
begging? You are a rich man. That bowl of yours is worth at least thirty
thousand dollars.” We Christians are often like this beggar boy who failed to
recognize and appreciate the value of his bowl. We fail to appreciate the infinite
worth of the Holy Spirit living within each of us, sharing His gifts and fruits and
charisms with us. On this major feast day we are invited to experience and
appreciate the transforming, sanctifying and strengthening presence of the Holy
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Spirit within us. This is also a day to renew the promises made to God during
our Baptism and Confirmation, to profess our faith, and to practice it.

# 3: "Oh, it sleeps about eighty." A family driving a large camper pulled up in
front of the church just as the pastor started toward home. Desiring to be
friendly, the pastor introduced himself and expressed his admiration for the
camper. The man of the family told him rather proudly: "This camper sleeps
eight people." Then he asked: "What is the capacity of your church, Pastor?" The
beleaguered pastor replied rather glumly, "Oh, it sleeps about eighty." It is
embarrassing sometimes how little the modern day church resembles the church
that first Pentecost: the sound of a wind-storm, tongues of fire, disciples speaking
in different languages, thousands being added to the church and lots of
excitement – excitement everywhere!

Introduction: The Jewish Pentecost: Both the Jews and the Christians now
celebrate Pentecost. Along with the Feast of the Passover and the Feast of
Tabernacles, Pentecost was one of the major feasts of the Jews. During these
three great Jewish festivals, every male Jew living within twenty miles of
Jerusalem was legally bound to go to Jerusalem to participate in the feast. The
word Pentecost is Greek for “pentecostes” which means “fiftieth.” The feast
received this name because it was celebrated fifty days after the Feast of the
Passover. Another name for the Jewish Pentecost is Shebuot or "The Feast of
Weeks." It was originally a day of thanksgiving for the completion of the
harvest. During Passover, the first omer (a Hebrew measure of about a bushel),
of barley was offered to God. At Pentecost, two loaves of bread were offered in
gratitude for the harvest. Later, the Jews added to the Feast of Pentecost the
element of Yahweh’s covenant with Noah, which took place fifty days after the
great deluge. Still later, they made this feast an occasion to thank God for His
Sinaitic covenant with Moses, which occurred fifty days after the beginning of
the Exodus from Egypt.

The Christian Pentecost: Pentecost marks the end and the goal of the Easter
season. For Christians, it is a memorial of the day the Holy Spirit descended on
the apostles and the Virgin Mary in the form of fiery tongues, an event that took
place fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus. The Pascal mystery of the Passion,
the Death, the Resurrection, and the Ascension of Jesus culminates in the sending
of the Spirit of the Father and the Son on his disciples. The feast also
commemorates the official inauguration of the Christian Church by the apostolic
preaching of St. Peter, resulting in the conversion of 3000 Jews to the
Christian faith. Pentecost is thus the official birthday of the Church. But This
Rock Magazine reports that there are now 34,000 Protestant denominations which
means, on the average, more than sixty-nine new denominations have sprung up
every year since the Reformation began in 1517. So whose birthday is it
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anyway? You could say, Pentecost is the birthday of the Church Jesus
established nearly 2,000 years ago. Today’s Scripture readings remind us that
Pentecost is an event of both the past and the present. The main theme of today’s
readings is that the gift of the Holy Spirit is something to be shared with others.
In other words, the readings remind us that the gift of the Holy Spirit moves its
recipients to action and inspires them to share this gift with others.

The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1-11) describes in detail the
miraculous transformation that took place during the first Pentecost, thus
fulfilling Jesus’ promise to his apostles. There was first “a noise like a strong
driving wind.” Then there were “tongues as of fire” resting on the disciples, and
each of them was filled with the Holy Spirit. The first manifestation of their
reception of the Holy Spirit came when the apostles began to proclaim the good
news of Jesus, and everyone there (regardless of their many different native
languages), was able to understand them “in his own tongue.” The Jews in the
crowds came from sixteen different geographical regions. The miracle of
tongues on Pentecost thus reverses the confusion of tongues wrought by God at
the Tower of Babel, as described in Genesis 11. Later, the Acts of the Apostles
describes how the Holy Spirit empowered the early Christians to bear witness to
Christ by their sharing love and strong faith. This "anointing by the Holy Spirit”
also strengthened the early Christian martyrs during the period of brutal
persecution that followed.

In the second reading (I Cor 12:3-7, 12-13) St. Paul explains how the sharing of
the various spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit enriches the Church. He refers to the
varieties of gifts given to the church as coming from the same Spirit who
activates all of them in Christians for the common good. They are described as
the gifts, fruits and charisms of the Spirit. They may take different forms like
prophecy, teaching, administration, acts of charity, healing and speaking in
tongues, and they may reside in different persons like apostles, prophets,
teachers, healers and so on. Paul lists the fruits of the Spirit in his Letter to the
Galatians “What the Spirit brings is … love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self control” (5:22). He continues, “Since the Spirit is our
life, let us be directed by the Spirit” (5:25). Paul insists that these spiritual gifts are
to be used in the present time for the benefit of others, for the common good and
for the building up of the body of Christ.

Today’s gospel relates how the risen Jesus gave his apostles a foretaste of
Pentecost on the evening of Easter Sunday by appearing to them and inviting
them to carry on the mission given him by his heavenly Father. He then
empowered them to do so by breathing upon them and saying, “Receive the Holy
Spirit.” On the day of Pentecost Jesus fulfilled his promise to send the Advocate
or Paraclete. The gift of the Spirit would also enable them to fulfill Jesus’
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commission to preach the gospel to all nations. Today’s gospel passage also tells
us how Jesus gave to the Apostles the power and authority to forgive sins.
“Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those
whose sins you retain, they are retained.” These wonderful words which bind
together inseparably the presence of the Holy Spirit and the gift of forgiveness
are referred to directly in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But they have a much
wider meaning. Those words indicate the power we are all given of being the
agents of forgiveness in the world of today, which is often fiercely judgmental
and vengeful.

Exegetical notes: Role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and of the
Church: How beautiful is the thought that the Holy Spirit lives within us! Saint
Paul reminds the Corinthian community of this fact when he asks, "Do you not
know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?" (I Corinthians
3:16). It is the Holy Spirit who develops our intimacy with God. "God has sent the
Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Gal 4:6). "God’s love has
been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 5:5).
"No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit" (I Corinthians 12:3).
Moreover, we know that it is the Holy Spirit who teaches us to pray (Romans
8:26). By the power of the Spirit, we also know the Lord Jesus through his
Church. Pentecost Sunday is the birth date of the Church. It is the Holy Spirit
who enlivens, enlightens, guides, and sanctifies the Church. The Psalm refrain
for this Sunday says it so well, “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the
earth.” We know Jesus through the Sacramental Mysteries of the Church and
Holy Spirit is at the heart of the sacramental life of the Church. Baptism,
Confirmation and Holy Orders are the Sacramental Mysteries through which
people receive the seal of the Holy Spirit. It would be impossible for us to
receive Jesus in the Eucharist without the descent of the Holy Spirit at the
Epiclesis of the Divine Liturgy. Even the forgiveness of sins comes through the
Holy Spirit (John 20:21-23). The Holy Spirit both confirmed the apostles in Holy
Orders as priests and empowered them to forgive sins by His power, a work
which He continues today in each of our priests.

Life messages: 1) We need to permit the Holy Spirit to direct our lives: a) By
constantly remembering and appreciating His Holy Presence within us,
especially through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. b) By fortifying
ourselves with the help of the Spirit against all types of temptations. c) By
seeking the assistance of the Spirit in our thoughts, words, and deeds, and in
the breaking of our evil habits. d) By listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit
speaking to us through the Bible and through the good counsel of others e) By
fervently praying for the gifts, fruits and charisms of the Holy Spirit. f) By
renewing our lives through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. g) By living our lives
in the Holy Spirit as lives of commitment, of sacrifice, and of joy. We are called
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to love as Jesus loved, not counting the cost. As Saint Paul exhorts us, "Walk by
the Spirit and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. If we live by the Spirit, let us also
walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16, 25).

2) We need to cultivate the spirit of forgiveness. The feast of the Pentecost offers
us the chance of looking at the role which forgiveness should play in our
dealings with others. Thus we are challenged to examine our sense of
compassion, patience, tolerance and magnanimity. Learning to forgive is a
lifelong task, but the Holy Spirit is with us to make us agents of forgiveness. If
we are prepared on this day of Pentecost to receive the Holy Spirit into our lives,
we can have confidence that our lives will be marked by the Spirit of forgiveness.

2) We need to observe Pentecost every day. "It will always be Pentecost in the
church," affirmed Oscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador, on Pentecost
Sunday 1978, "provided the church lets the beauty of the Holy Spirit shine forth
from her countenance. When the church ceases to let her strength rest on the
power from above which Christ promised her and which he gave her on that
day, and when the church leans rather on the weak forces of the power or wealth
of this earth, then the church ceases to be newsworthy. The church will be fair to
see, perennially young, attractive in every age, as long as she is faithful to the
Spirit that floods her and she reflects that Spirit through her communities,
through her pastors, through her very life" (The Violence of Love, The Plough Pub.
Co., Farmington, PA: 1998). Archbishop Romero’s declaration reminds us -- as
does today’s Gospel -- that Pentecost is not just one day, but every day. Without
breath, there is no life. Without the Spirit, the church is a field of dry, dead
bones. Fulton J. Sheen once said about the Church, "Even though we are God's
chosen people, we often behave more like God's frozen people--frozen in our prayer
life, frozen in the way we relate with one another, frozen in the way we celebrate
our faith." Today is a great day to ask the Holy Spirit to rekindle in us the spirit
of new life and enthusiasm, the fire of God's love. Let us repeat Cardinal
Newman’s favorite little prayer, “Come Holy Spirit:”

“Come Holy Spirit
Make our ears to hear
Make our eyes to see
Make our mouths to speak
Make our hearts to seek
Make our hands to reach out
And touch the world with your love. AMEN.”

Joke of the week

1) The seven gifts in day-to-day life:
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a) The gift of wisdom: Four-year-old Amanda was taken to the doctor’s office
with a fever. The doctor looked in her ears and asked, "Who’s in there? Donald
Duck?" She said, "No." He looked in her open mouth, "Who’s in there? Mickey
Mouse?" Again she said, "No." He put his stethoscope on her heart and asked,
"Who’s in there? Barney?" Amanda replied, "No, Jesus is in my heart. Barney is
in the pocket of my underwear."

b) The gift of understanding: A kindergarten teacher was observing her
classroom of children while they drew pictures. She would occasionally walk
around to see each child's artwork. As she came to one little girl who was
working diligently, she asked what the drawing was. The girl replied, "I'm
drawing God." The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks
like." Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing the girl replied,
"They will in a minute."

c) The gift of counsel: Just after receiving his driver’s license, a Lutheran
minister’s son wanted to talk about using the family car. “I’ll make a deal with
you,” his father said. “Bring your grades up, read your Bible more often, and get
a haircut. Then you may use the car once or twice a week.” A month later the
question came up again. “Son,” the father said, “I’m proud of you. I see you
studying hard and reading your Bible every day. But you didn’t get a haircut.”
After a moment’s pause, the son replied, “Yeah, I’ve thought about that. But
Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair.”
“True,’ the father replied, “but may be you noticed that they walked wherever
they went.”

d) The gift of fortitude: A mother refused to permit her little boy to go for a
picnic with his classmates. On the day of the picnic, however, she changed her
mind and gave him permission. But he sighed and confessed, "It's too late
Mummy, I've already prayed for rain on the school picnic day!"

e) The gift of knowledge: The story is told of a man who went to the priest and
said, "Father, I want you to say a Mass for my dog." The priest was indignant.
"What do you mean, say a Mass for your dog?" "It's my pet dog," said the man. "I
loved that dog and I'd like you to offer a Mass for him." "We don't offer Masses
for dogs here," the priest said. "You might try the denomination down the street.
Ask them if they have a service for you." As the man was leaving, he said to the
priest, "I really loved that dog. I was planning to give a five thousand-dollar
stipend for the Mass." And the priest said, "Wait a minute! Why didn’t tell me
that your dog was Catholic?!"

f) The gift of piety: The Rabbi, the Cantor and one member of the congregation
were the only ones present for the service. The Rabbi intoned, "Adonai, before
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you I am as nothing." The Cantor intoned, "Adonai, before you I am less than
nothing." The member of the congregation intoned, "Adonai, I too am nothing
and less than nothing." The Cantor looked at the rabbi, and gestured toward the
member of the congregation. "Look who thinks he's nothing!"

g) The gift of fear of God: Do not ride in automobiles: they are responsible for
20% of fatal accidents. Do not stay home: 1% of all accidents occur in home. Do
not walk on the streets or sidewalks: 14% of all accidents occur at such times. Do
not travel by air, rail, or water: 16% of all accidents happen on planes, trains or
boats. Only .001% of all deaths occur in worship services in church, and these
are usually related to previous physical disorders. Hence the safest place for you
to be at any time is at church!!!




       (“Scriptural Homilies” no.339 by Fr. Tony (akadavil@mobis.com) L/11


Fr. Anthony Kadavil, St. John the Baptist Church, POB 417, 12450 Hwy 188, Grand Bay, AL 36541

12 Additional anecdotes for Pentecost Sunday

1) “Lower your bucket-- taste and see”: More than a century ago, a great sailing
ship was stranded off the coast of South America. Week after week the ship lay
there in the still waters with not a hint of a breeze. The captain was desperate;
the crew was dying of thirst. And then, on the far horizon, a steamship
appeared, headed directly toward them. As it drew near, the captain called out,
"We need water! Give us water!" The steamship replied, "Lower your buckets
where you are." The captain was furious at this cavalier response but called out
again, "Please, give us water." But the steamer gave the same reply, "Lower your
buckets where you are!" And with that they sailed away! The captain was
beside himself with anger and despair, and he went below. But a little later,
when no one was looking, a yeoman lowered a bucket into the sea and then
tasted what he brought up: It was perfectly sweet, fresh water! For you see, the
ship was just out of sight of the mouth of the Amazon. And for all those weeks
they had been sitting right on top of all the fresh water they needed! What we
are really seeking is already inside us, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be
embraced: the Holy Spirit of God who has been living within us from the first
second of our life. The Holy Spirit is saying to us at this very moment from deep
in our heart, "Lower your buckets where you are. Taste and see!" Come, Holy
Spirit! Fill our hearts, and set us on fire! Amen.
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2) Fly like an eagle: There is an old fable about a changeling eagle. A tribesman
who lived in a forest, one day found an egg of an eagle. He took the egg home
and hatched it along with the chicken eggs. This eaglet started growing up with
the other chicks. It started eating white ants and little worms, pecking and
hopping here and there like the other chicks. But it never learned to fly like an
eagle. One day as it was foraging for food from the ground, it saw an eagle
majestically soaring high in the sky. As the eaglet was admiring the grandeur of
the soaring eagle, the other chicks came and said to the eaglet, “Look that is the
eagle – the king of the birds. You and I are chickens. We cannot fly like the
eagle.” –Often we lead poor lives without realizing the power of the Holy Spirit
residing within us. Let us learn to connect ourselves to this great spiritual
powerhouse of the Holy Spirit by daily praying for his anointing. (John Rose in
‘John’s Sunday Homilies’)

3)  Why are the Swiss watches gone? If in 1968 someone had asked which
country would dominate watch making in the 1990s, most people would have
said Switzerland. This is because Switzerland had dominated the world of watch
making for the previous sixty years. They led the search for new ways to
manufacture better and more durable watch parts. They developed the best
waterproofing techniques. In fact, in 1968 the Swiss made 65% of all watches sold
in the world, and laid claim to 90% of the profits. However, by 1980 in
Switzerland, watchmakers had been laid off by the thousands and the Swiss
controlled a paltry 10% of the watch market. Why? The Swiss had ignored an
important new development, the Quartz Movement. Ironically a Swiss invented
the Quartz movement, but it was rejected because it had no mainspring or knob.
It was too much of a paradigm shift for them to embrace. It was too new and too
strange. Today's text from Acts tells of a powerful paradigm shift in the people of
God, of "God's deeds of power," the miraculous activities that accompanied the
descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles.


4) Speaking the same language: In 1887, Dr. Ludwig Zamenhof, a Polish linguist,
constructed a new language that could be shared by people throughout the
world. The artificial language Dr. Zamenhof created is called Esperanto, "the
language of hope." The name signifies hope for humankind that a common
language might heal the divisions that exist among the different peoples of the
earth. The feast of Pentecost is the Church's celebration of her unity and
universality in the Holy Spirit, and so some of the readings used express this in
terms of language. Dr. Zamenhof's invention of a universal language like
Esperanto has been followed by the establishment of the United Nations
Assembly, by Summit meetings of the heads of nations, by cultural exchanges
and by the revival of the Olympic Games. But Pentecost is more than a work of
human creation, more than a work of art and music. Pentecost is a new
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outpouring of God's Spirit into our hearts to kindle in us the fire of his love. –
(Albert Cylwicki in 'His Word Resounds')

5) All Mr. Yates needed was suddenly provided. During the Great Depression a
man by the name of Yates owned a sheep ranch in West Texas. Day by day he
grazed his sheep and wondered how he was going to pay his bills. It was in the
middle of the Depression and even government subsidies would not give him
enough income to break even. Then one day an oil company came to town. They
asked permission to drill a wildcat well on Mr. Yates' land. At 1,115 feet they
struck oil to the tune of 80,000 barrels a day. All Mr. Yates needed was suddenly
provided. When I read that old story, one that Bill Bright tells, I wondered if it
might be a parable of our spiritual life. “All I have needed God's hands have
provided,” says the hymn. The power we need to become what God intended us
to be is already in our souls. It is a parable of our spiritual life. The power we
need to become what God intended us to be is already in our souls in the form of
Christ’s indwelling Holy Spirit.

6) High tide of the Holy Spirit: A ship strayed off course near San Diego some
years back. It became stuck in a reef at low tide. Twelve tugboats were
unsuccessful in their attempts to budge it. Finally, the captain instructed the tugs
to go back home. He sighed, "I'll just be patient and wait." He waited until high
tide. All of a sudden the ocean began to rise. What human power could not do,
the rising tide of the Pacific Ocean did. It lifted that ship and put it back into the
channel. Something like that happened to the early Church on the Day of
Pentecost. They were all together in one place – confused, unmotivated and
fearful – when suddenly the tide of Holy Spirit rolled in.

7) “I'm gonna run her through that thing one time." Two brothers grew up on a
farm in a rural area near Cairo, Georgia. One brother took to education like a
duck to water. He graduated from Georgia Tech and became a renowned
engineer in Chicago. The other brother was content to stay home and farm. Some
years later, the learned brother was invited to give a speech in Atlanta at the
Peachtree Plaza Hotel. He had not seen his brother in a long while so he invited
him to bring his family to the hotel and spend a little time with him. The rural
brother had never been in a town bigger than Cairo. He and his wife and son
piled into their pickup truck and headed for Atlanta. After a fearful experience
on the interstate highways, they pulled up in front of the Peachtree Plaza. The
farmer left his wife in the truck. He and his son went inside to check in. Just
inside the entrance were a number of elevators. The farmer had never seen one
before. He watched a large, very plain, middle aged lady step inside one of those
little rooms. The doors closed. After about a minute, the doors opened and out
stepped a young lady who was a vision of loveliness. The farmer's eyes bugged
out. Quickly he punched his son and said, "Boy, go get Your Maw. I'm gonna run
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her through that thing one time." At Pentecost a ragged aggregation of misfits
was transformed into a disciplined cadre of spiritual storm troopers. The wimps
became warriors!

8) Wilma Rudolph winning Olympics gold medals: Neil T. Anderson, in his
book Victory over Darkness, tells a thrilling story about a little girl born with major
health problems which left her crippled. She had a large, wonderful Christian
family. Her mother used to tell her. "If you believe, God will make it happen.
You will be able to run around like your brothers and sisters. " She took her
mother’s counsel to heart and began to believe that God could heal her. She
practiced walking without her braces with the aid of her brothers and sisters. On
her twelfth birthday, she surprised her parents and her doctors by removing her
braces and walking around the doctor's office unassisted. She never wore the
braces again. Her next goal was to play basketball. The coach only agreed to let
her play as a means of getting her older sister on the team. One day she
approached the coach and promised him if he would give her an extra 10
minutes of coaching each day, she would give him a world-class athlete. He
laughed, but seeing she was serious, half-heartedly agreed. Before long her
determination paid off. She was one of the team's best players. Her team went to
the state basketball championships. One of the referees noticed her exceptional
ability. He asked if she had ever run track. She hadn't. He encouraged her to try
it. So after the basketball season she went out for track. She began winning races
and earned a berth in the state championships. At the age of 16, she was one of
the best young runners in the country. She went to the Olympics in Australia and
won a bronze medal for anchoring the 400meter relay team. Four years later in
Rome she won the 100-meter dash, the 200meter dash and anchored the winning
400-meter relay team "all in world-record times.” Wilma Rudolph capped the
year by receiving the prestigious Sullivan Award as the most outstanding
amateur athlete in America. Her faith and hard work had paid off. [Neil T.
Anderson, Victory over Darkness (Ventura, California: Regal Books, 1990), pp. 107-
108.] In a sense, that is what Pentecost is about. People opened themselves to
God's Spirit, and God's Spirit empowered them to do things they never dreamed
possible. Pentecost is about empowerment: "a small group of folks turned the
world upside down.”

9) In yachting, no wind means no race! "Rev. Alan Walker of Australia often tells
about the race of the sailing yachts in which Australia finally defeated the USA
for the prized America's Cup. For 132 years the cup was kept and defended by
the United States. Again and again there were challenges for the cup, but each
time it was retained by the USA. Finally, in 1983 Australia mounted a serious
challenge. The event took place as scheduled, and after six races, the two yachts
were deadlocked at three wins each. Now the whole world seemed to take
notice. Australia was alive with anticipation. The sporting world was focused on
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the race. The day came for the final race. After more than 100 years, the United
States was in danger of losing its very precious cup. Thousands of people came
to watch the race. Television cameras were ready to beam the race by satellite
around the world. The crews were ready. The boats were polished. The yachts
pulled into place at the starting line. All was ready, but there was no race! There
was not enough wind. In yachting, no wind means no race!" In the life of the
church, as in yachting, no wind, no race. Who would deny that the church today
lacks power, life, energy, excitement? The church today needs the power of the
Holy Spirit.

10) Torch and Bucket: There is the story of a person who saw an angel walking
down the street. The angel was carrying a torch in one hand and a bucket of
water in the other. “What are you going to do with that torch and that bucket of
water?” the person asked. The angel stopped abruptly, looked at the person and
said, “With the torch, I’m going to burn down the mansions of heaven, and with
the bucket of water, I’m going to put out the fires of hell. Then we’re going to see
who really loves God. The angel’s point is that many people obey God’s
commandments out of fear of punishment of hell or hope of reward in heaven.
They don’t obey him for the reason Jesus gives in today’s gospel. They don’t
obey them out of love: “If you love me,” Jesus says in today’s reading, “you will
obey    my      commandments.”       (Mark      Link    in     ‘Sunday    Homilies’).


11) Do you belong to a Pentecostal church? During the Italian occupation of
Ethiopia in the days of Mussolini, Christian believers suffered considerable
persecution. In his book, Fire on the Mountains, Raymond Davis tells of the love
demonstrated by believers for each other during this period of affliction, which
in turn made a major impression on unbelievers. For example, no provision was
made to feed the prisoners in jail by the invading army. This was the
responsibility of relatives and friends. Christians in the prisons had no problem,
though. They were well cared for by friends and family. In fact, so much food
was brought them by fellow believers and church groups that enough remained
to feed the unbelieving prisoners also. This observable love, vibrant though
nonverbal, brought many to seek the Lord. Such love was previously unheard of.
As a result the word spread far and wide. Nonbelievers sought out believers to
learn more about the Christian faith. When prisoners who had come to know
Christ while in jail were released, they went back home and attended the nearest
church. (Leslie B. Flynn, You Don’t Have To Go It Alone, (Denver, Colorado:
Accent Books, 1981). It is only right, then, that we should pray that we might be
a “Pentecostal church,” if we understands what that means.

12) “I need to know if you are Pentecostal.” The well-known author and
preacher, Fred Craddock, tells a rather funny story about a lecture he was giving:
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A few years ago, when he was on the West Coast speaking at a seminary, just
before the first lecture, one of the students stood up and said, "Before you speak,
I need to know if you are Pentecostal." The room grew silent. Craddock said he
looked around for the Dean of the seminary! He was nowhere to be found. The
student continued with his quiz right in front of everybody. Craddock was taken
aback, and so he said, "Do you mean do I belong to the Pentecostal Church?" He
said, "No, I mean are you Pentecostal?" Craddock said, "Are you asking me if I
am charismatic?" the student said, "I am asking you if you are Pentecostal."
Craddock said, "Do you want to know if I speak in tongues?" He said, "I want to
know if you are Pentecostal." Craddock said, "I don't know what your question
is." The student said, "Obviously, you are not Pentecostal." He left. What are we
talking about this morning? Is the church supposed to use the word Pentecost
only as a noun or can it be used as an adjective? And so I ask you: Are you
Pentecostal? If the church is alive in the world it is Pentecostal. The church is
alive if we are in one accord, sharing our blessings with the less fortunate ones, if
we are joined together in prayer and if we are repenting people asking
forgiveness from God and others every day. (L/11)

Synopsis of the homily on Pentecost (June 12, 2011)                            L/11

Pentecost literally means 50th. It is a feast celebrated on the 50th day after the
Passover feast by the Jews and a feast celebrated on the 50th day after the feast of
the Resurrection of Jesus by the Christians. The Jewish Pentecost was originally a
post-harvest thanksgiving feast. Later it was celebrated to remember God’s
covenants with Noah after the Deluge and with Moses at Mt. Sinai

The event: On the day of Pentecost 1) The Holy Spirit descended upon the
apostles and Blessed Virgin Mary as fiery tongues. 2) The frightened apostles
were transformed into fiery preachers and evangelizers by a special anointing of
the Holy Spirit. 3) The audience experienced a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit
with the gift of tongues, hearing Peter speaking in their languages. 4) The early
Christians became powerful witnesses and brave martyrs for faith.

The role of the Holy Spirit in Christian life: 1) As an indwelling God, He makes
us His Living Temples (I Cor 3:16). 2) As a strengthening God, He strengthens us
in our fight against temptations and in our mission of bearing witness to Christ
by transparent Christian lives. 3) As a sanctifying God, He makes us holy
through the sacraments: a) He makes us children of God and heirs of heaven
through Baptism. b) He makes us temples of God, warriors and defenders of
faith, through Confirmation. c) He enables us to be reconciled to God by
pardoning our sins through Reconciliation. d) He gives us spiritual nourishment
via the Holy Eucharist by converting bread and wine into Jesus’ body and blood
through Epiclesis. 4) As a teaching and guiding God, He clarifies and constantly
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reminds us of Christ’s teachings. 5) As a listening and talking God, He listens to
our prayers and enables us to pray, and He speaks to us through the Bible. 6) As
a giver of gifts, He gives us His gifts, fruits and charisms.

Life messages:     We need to permit the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives:

1) By constantly remembering His holy presence and behaving well.

2) By praying for His daily anointing so that we may fight against our
temptations and control our evil tendencies, evil habits and addictions.

3) By asking His daily assistance to pray, listening to God through meditative
Bible reading and talking to Him.

4) By asking the help of the Holy Spirit to do good to others and to be
reconciled to God and others every day.

Fr. Anthony Kadavil, St. John the Baptist Church, POB 417, 12450 Hwy 188, Grand Bay, AL 36541

				
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