Homily for Pentecost Sunday, Cycle A

posted May 28, 2020, 5:50 AM by Michelle Massung   [ updated May 28, 2020, 5:50 AM ]

Gospel                                    JN 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”



Homily for Pentecost, Cycle A


            Today we celebrate the feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit comes down upon the Apostles after Jesus ascended into heaven.  But we that have been confirmed have also received the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Who is the Holy Spirit and what are these gifts that we and the Apostles received?  The Holy Spirit is the love shared between the Father and the son.  It is very similar to the love shared between a parent and child.  We also must take into consideration that conformation completes the sacraments of initiation, especially Baptism. 

            The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are Wisdom, Knowledge, Courage or Fortitude, Counsel, Piety or reverence, and Fear of the Lord.  I am going to try and explain them in terms of how they have made a difference in my life.  Wisdom is the first and highest gift of the Holy Spirit because it perfects in us the gift of faith that we received when we were baptized.  It is when we accept this gift of faith that we believed that we are saved and Wisdom, turns that faith into love of God.  It also allows us to more fully understand the beliefs we profess in the creeds that we can more deeply love God.  Wisdom also helps us to prioritize things in our life according to our relationship with God.  I used the gift of Wisdom to see that I was living a sinful life of earthly pleasure rather than focusing on things of heavenly importance; knowing and serving God. 

            Understanding is slightly different that wisdom.  While Wisdom allows us to see God and all his goodness, understanding gives us the desire to pursue a more personal relationship with Jesus; to know and to understand his teachings and to desire to follow him as a disciple.  I rely on understanding to gain a deeper meaning of the messages of Jesus in the Scriptures and then try and pass that knowledge onto you in my homilies. 

            Counsel is the perfection of Prudence, making the right decision at the right time.  It is conscience that helps to direct us in our lives.  Our consciences are constantly being formed as our life experiences grow and develop.  I am constantly being tempted and use my conscience to try my best to resist these temptations. 

            Fortitude or courage gives us the strength the act on our decisions that we made using the gift of counsel.  It is one thing to decide what to do, but another to act upon that decision.  For instance, my brothers and I decided that my mother had suffered enough and that we needed to take her off the respirator.  Although it was a difficult decision, it was even a greater act of courage to actually remove the tubes and unplug the machine that was keeping her alive. 

            Knowledge allows us to see God and the world from the perspective of God so that we can make decisions and be guided in pursuing our vocation in life and Gods will for us in our lives.  I used knowledge when I was trying to decide whether to get remarried again or to become a priest or to stay single. 

            Piety allows us to love God and our neighbor, not out of obligation, but out of true love.  The Holy Spirit is God’s love dwelling in us and piety allows us to return that love to God by praising him and by loving our neighbors.  This is much like how we love our parents. 

            Fear of the Lord perfects the gift of hope in us.  We love him and want to serve him because he is so much greater than we are.  It is the idea that God is the Holy Other.  He is our creator, redeemer and sanctifier.  He loves us so much, forgives us our sins and gives us the grace we need to love him and our neighbor.  It is not a fear of the Lord based on a fear of being punished by God, but a sense of reverence.  We should not come to mass for fear of hell if we do not come to mass.  Rather, we should come to mass to give praise and thanksgiving to God. 

            Hopefully, today I have helped you to have a better understanding of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and how we constantly use them to grow closer to God and to love and serve our neighbor.  These gifts allow us to do this out of love and not obligation.  Our spiritual progress comes from allowing these gifts to be used in our lives.  Today, what gift did you find most helpful in your life? Thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit in your life and allow the Spirit to guide you to grow closer to God through a more deeper and profound relationship with his son, Jesus Christ.  And then you can show your love by loving your neighbor.