June 9, 2019: Pentecost Sunday - Associate Pastor’s Corner
Happy birthday, People of God!
In some circles, Pentecost is seen as the birthday of the Church. As we have witnessed in our first reading, today is the day where the Holy Spirit in dramatic fashion descended upon the Apostles with Mary and spoke the goodness and mercy of Our Father to all nations. People from all corners of the Roman empire witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, listening to the proclamation that God loves the human race.
This is the dynamic that we still inhabit. This message that we still proclaim. We are still invited to go out, to ride that impulse of Love, to tell others of the good news that God loves us, despite us.
I hadn’t felt this dynamic truly alive within me till I witnessed it in Rome. Many of you know that I help with a missionary apostolate, and I had some meetings in Rome and Hong Kong. Being my first time in the Eternal City, one of the few things I wanted to do was say Mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica. It was here that I felt the urge, need, impulse to share the love that Jesus had for me to others. In this Basilica, which stands as a monument of Christians’ love for Christ.
Our team planned to go to Saint Peter’s on May 14th, the Feast of St Matthias the Apostle, the man who had replaced the betrayer, Judas Iscariot. After the priests had vested, we were allowed to wander St Peter’s to find an Altar to say Mass.
“Oh, over here,” Father Luke said, leading us to a larger chapel. We walked to an empty chapel with a series of one hundred chairs facing the Altar. This was the Chapel of Saint Joseph, where a towering oil painting of the Saint welcomed us. After I had set up the chalice and liturgical books, Father Luke said, “Father Isaiah Mary, you really should look below at the Altar.”
There, I found that I was going to say Mass on the relics of Saints Simon and Jude. What a beautiful surprise! On top of that, I had turned around and found that the lively, imposing marble statue of Saint Andrew, Saint Peter’s brother, reaching out to us.
So there we were. In the Basilica of the Apostle Peter, on the Feastday of the Apostle Matthias, overlooked by the Apostle Andrew, saying Mass on the relics of the Apostles Simon and Jude, in the chapel of Joseph, foster-father of Our Lord. I and our team found ourselves, in the most intimate way, surrounded by these men--sinners though they were--who were given that first impulse by the Holy Spirit to share the good news that God loves us, despite us.
These were the first ones Jesus told the great message and mystery of how to love God well. These were the ones who witnessed the breaking of the bread, the multiplication of loaves and fish, the raising of Lazarus. Is it to these men that the Holy Spirit manifest as tongues of unwieldy fire, anointing them with the Fire of the Holy Spirit, giving them the office to preach, teach, and to govern over the people of God.
As the Apostles preached, taught, governed those centuries before, they still govern us today. From their apostolic thrones next to the Lamb Once Slain, they still offer us their example, their counsel, and their wisdom. Imbued by the fire and wisdom of the Spirit, they still charge us to be conduits of grace.
The mission of the Apostles is not yet over, yet still persists. It tugs the heartstrings of the believer, urging us to treat others with virtue, to dive into the mysteries for our edification and intellection, to allow ourselves to commune with God through prayer and through Sacrament.
The mission of the Apostles is not yet over, yet still persists. It lives in the heart of every believer to preach the Love of Christ through our lives, to teach this love to those who know not His name, and to have the humility to be governed by the Fiery Wisdom of Love.
On Pentecost day, the Father “breathed-in” the Spirit into us. May this Spirit overtake us, making us the apostles of the present age.
- Fr. Isaiah Mary
I am the chaplain (and other things of the) St. Francis Xavier Lay Missionary Society. It is a Catholic non-profit organization dedicated to evangelize to young adults in Asia. You can give financially via Paypal at www.laymissionary.org, giving a monthly or one-time gift of $50 or more; we are an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our EIN is: 46-2993509.