The Feast of Pentecost
In today’s gospel Jesus tells us “when He comes, the Spirit of Truth, He will guide you to all truth”. And it is the fulfillment of that promise of Jesus that we celebrate today, The Feast of Pentecost.
Remember Pilate's question to Jesus: "What is truth?" Well that’s a question that is still being asked today. In today’s world where do we find truth? Whom are we to believe? What is the Truth? Are we skeptical?
There seems to be a certain “lack of credibility” in the air. A lack of credibility. Businesses have folded because of financial scandals. There have been scandals in our government because officials have been caught lying about important issues.
And in our Church some of our Catholic Bishops have lost credibility because of the sexual abuse scandals. All of these scandals have one thing in common – a lack of credibility – the lack of truth.
However, there is one whom we can believe. God has absolute credibility. God gives us the Spirit of Truth so that we may be able to discover what is true.
And that Spirit is at work in our church and in the world.
Yes there are times in history when the workings of the Spirit do not appear to be too evident – There are times when the Spirit appears to be silent. And in today’s world we may very well be living in one of those times.
But the Spirit blows where it will and it cannot be stopped. The Truth will always come out eventually.
To know the truth we need to open our minds and our hearts to the working of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is called "The Advocate." The word advocate, in Greek, means someone who goes to court with you, sits beside you, and gives advice and support. Very much like what we today would call an attorney or lawyer.
We do need an attorney when we are facing troubles. We also need an attorney when we have to make some big important decisions in life or in our business.
In today’s world as Christians, we are in deep trouble. We need some advice. We need some support. We have some very important decisions to make. Abortion, euthanasia, same-sex unions, assisted suicide.
We desperately need an attorney. We need the Holy Spirit who has been sent by God. We need the Holy Spirit to help us discern what is true.
The Holy Spirit offers us these gifts:
Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and the Fear of the Lord.
We need wisdom and knowledge to find the truth. We need Understanding to grab hold of the Truth. We need Piety and Fear of the Lord to accept the truth. And finally, we need Fortitude to live by the Truth.
All of these are gifts freely given by the Holy Spirit. But we need to be open to them. If our minds are closed to the gifts of the Holy Spirit our minds are then closed to the truth. We need to open our hearts and minds to the gifts being offered to us by the Holy Spirit.
If we accept the Truth given by the Holy Spirit it shall set us free.
Free from what?
You know, the lack of credibility in Business, in Government, and in the Church brings with it a feeling of helplessness, a paralyzing fear, a fear like the fear which made the disciples lock themselves up in that upper room.
What freed them from this fear? It was the coming of the Holy Spirit that set them free. It was the coming of the Holy Spirit that made them brave, brave enough to leave that room and to go out and fearlessly proclaim the truth about Jesus and His Good News.
And that Good News, that truth, was about a God of love and compassion, a God of forgiveness and reconciliation, a God for whom all people are important and no one is excluded or driven away from the table of the Lord, not even Judas.
Now that is the good news. Almost too good to believe. Almost incredible in itself.
Jesus said “I am the way, the Truth and the Life”.
Jesus is a God who sets us free, free to serve out of love, not out of fear.
The Good News of Jesus Christ. This is the truth that we seek in our hearts. This is the truth promised and revealed to us by the great Spirit of Truth.
And that is in direct contrast with our world of today. With our world of today often that which appears credible is most often untrue. But with God that which appears incredible, too good to be true, is in fact always true.
At Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to remain with the Church forever. When the Apostles received the gifts of the Holy Spirit the Church was publicly made known to the people. The Gospel began to spread among the nations.
The Holy Spirit is still with us today. We can’t see Him, but we can hear Him as He speaks to our hearts, we can see His moving in our lives and we can feel the power of His presence if we accept His guidance throughout each day.
Today the Holy Spirit continues to work through His church. Through the workings of the Holy Spirit the Church is able to carry on the work of salvation given to it by Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit guides the Pope, the Bishops and the priests of the Catholic Church in their work of teaching Christ’s doctrine, guiding souls and giving God’s grace to the people through the sacraments.
The Holy Spirit directs all the work of Christ in the Church – the care of the sick, the teaching of children, the guidance of youth, the comforting of the sorrowful and the support of the needy.
The Holy Spirit guides the People of God in knowing the truth. The Spirit prays in us and makes us remember that we are all adopted children of God.
And so the Spirit brings the Church together in love and worship.
Today as we celebrate the birth of the Church on this Feast of Pentecost may we open our minds to this Spirit of Truth and open our hearts to the fire of the Spirit of Love so that we may have the courage to continue to spread the Good News not only in our Church but also in our World.
Because it is a world that desperately needs to hear the truth. And the Truth shall set us free. God Bless You.
Deacon Bernie Ouellette