June 5, 2022: Pentecost Sunday - Pastor’s Corner
Happy Pentecost! This weekend, we celebrate the birth of the Church. 50 days after His Resurrection, Jesus sends His Holy Spirit in to empower and enliven His followers. While we are familiar with the account of the fiery tongues in the account from the Acts of the Apostles, in this weekend’s Gospel we have the “first” account of Luke from His Gospel. After His Resurrection, Jesus greets the Apostles in the Upper Room and breathes His Spirit upon them: “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.” Jesus shares His Spirit with His Apostles so that they might be agents of His forgiveness and healing. On this Pentecost, Jesus sends the same Spirit into our lives, so that we too might experience the power of His peaceful, healing presence.
One example of the power of the Spirit at Pentecost is reflected in our devotion to intercessory prayers of the saints. This Thursday we conclude the powerful novena to St. Peregrine. Fr. Thomas Aquinas Pickett led us in a beautiful novena focusing on the priesthood of Jesus as a source of our confidence in His healing power. The story of St. Peregrine itself shows how Christ himself is the source of healing. Born in Forli, Italy, around 1265, St. Peregrine grew up in a family and town that were politically and socially opposed to the Pope. When St. Philip Benizi, Prior General of the Servants of Mary, went to Forli to preach reconciliation, the hot-headed young Peregrine, who was very intense in his political fervor, not only heckled Philip during his preaching, but, in fact, struck him. Philip, instead of responding with anger and violence to the attack, turned and forgave Peregrine. This brief grace-filled encounter with Philip dramatically changed Peregrine. Having a palpable experience of compassion, Peregrine began channeling his own energy into doing corporeal and spiritual works of mercy and eventually joined the Servants of Mary in Siena, Italy. He returned to Forli, where he spent the rest of his life, dedicating himself to the sick, the poor, and those on the fringes of society. His ministry involved long hours of standing which led to varicose veins. This condition later deteriorated into an open sore on his leg, which was eventually diagnosed as cancer. Peregrine's leg wound became so serious that the local surgeon decided to amputate the leg. The night before the surgery, Peregrine prayed before the image of the crucified Christ, and when he awoke, the wound was healed and his leg saved. For this reason, St. Peregrine is the Patron Saint of those suffering from cancer. By bringing his suffering to God, Peregrine opened himself up to the transformation that only a loving God can provide. St. Peregrine, pray for us!
~ Fr. Michael