This weekend we are celebrating the long-awaited Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday, which literally means 50, that is, fifty days after Easter. This 50th day marks the 2,022nd Birthday of the Church and it also marks the fulfillment of the Paschal Mystery, that is, the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ 50 days after his resurrection.
In the Jewish tradition, Pentecost was the celebration of receiving the commandments from God fifty days after their Exodus from Egypt. It was a celebration of God’s covenant with his people. Today, we are celebrating that new and eternal covenant with God as he sends forth the promised Holy Spirit in fulfillment of God’s divine revelation of salvation for the world.
At Baptism, we become temples of the Holy Spirit and begin to share in the Divine life of God. Later in life many of us received, or will receive, the Sacrament of Confirmation. In this sacrament, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit as we were anointed with the Sacred Chrism. Confirmation is intended to be a personal Pentecost for each Catholic. We, like the disciples in the upper room, are given the grace to witness to our faith through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Some may feel like our faith has been shaken, especially in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting along with all the other atrocities that are taking place throughout the world and here in our country. Parishioners and school parents have asked me, “Where is God in all this?” My response, “Yes, where is God in all this?” We, as a country, are trying to take God out of the picture and are suffering the consequences. There is nothing more evil and sickening than the act of taking the life of innocent, defenseless children! Homes can be rebuilt, trees replanted, roads and power lines fixed, but the loss of a loved one can never be replaced.
What is worrisome and disturbing is that this senseless act of pure evil will inevitably happen again if the direction of our society continues to gravitate toward taking God and religion out of the picture. It saddens me to see fellow Americans falling into this ‘social’ trend of the devaluation of the core Christian moral and ethical values that formed the solid foundation of our beloved country. It saddens me to see that when a country starts losing sight of God and these core Christian values then, ultimately, the respect and dignity of the human person becomes compromised, and anything goes. Sadly enough, when this happens, we may see more of the malicious evil act of the taking of innocent defenseless lives.
Pentecost Sunday is a stark reminder to us that we are called to be a part of the ‘Trend Changers,’ uniting with Christians throughout the world, praying for a return to the respect and dignity of human life, never forgetting that the most basic human right is the right to life itself.
May the Holy Spirit continue to breathe new life within us, as we give witness to our Faith. Our prayers go out to those children and teachers who have lost their lives, as well as their parents and families, as we pray:
Come Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of Your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of Your love.
Send forth Your Spirit
and they shall be created.
And You shall renew the face of the earth.
Fr. John Poncini