We celebrate a number of feast days in the life of Christ: his birth in Bethlehem; his baptism in the Jordan; his calling people to be his disciples; his last supper with his disciples, his death, his resurrection, Ascension into heaven, his trusting his disciples would do his work when he had left. We celebrate another important feast – Pentecost (50, meaning 50 days after the Passover of the Jews).

I ask you to imagine yourself among the apostles on that day. Most likely they were gathered in a large room (Acts 2:1-13); they were remembering that Jesus had already departed from them; and they were waiting and wondering when the spirit Jesus had promised would come to them. Further they were wondering what impact the spirit would have them; and wondering what lay ahead for them. Jesus had promised to send the Holy Spirit, who would remind them of all He taught them and would give them courage and power to carry on his work.

Suddenly they experienced some of the OT signs of God's presence - strong wind that shook the house, tongues of fire coming on them, and they became excited and inspired as they felt the coming of the Spirit into their minds and hearts. We are told "they were filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.’’ They began to understand what their work would be and they became confident they could do it. Jerusalem was crowded with visitors and residents for the high feast (Pentecost) who came from many countries, and all of these were amazed that they could understand the preaching and teaching of the apostles.

What began to happen after Pentecost? The apostles were fired up and felt a great energy and determination to continue the ministry of Jesus. In their life-times they travelled to all the known world, they had to deal with opposition and most were martyred for their faith and teaching. Over the centuries, millions of people lived holy lives because of the example of the apostles and the grace of the Holy Spirit. The message of Jesus (‘God loves all people’) through the preaching begun by the apostles spread to every nation in the world. Mother Teresa, and many like her, spent their lives serving the poor and working for the Church. Pope Francis continues to lead and serve the Church, and down through the centuries saintly people and church leaders have lived their faith with great enthusiasm.

On this Pentecost Sunday what is the message for you and I. We are to remember and celebrate the coming of the spirit at Pentecost. We must never forget that we are promised the same Spirit, the same gifts of the Spirit, opportunities to do the work that Christ gave to his disciples, and the challenge to become persons guided by the spirit and witnesses for Christ.

I as, a priest, experience the holy spirit in my life in a variety of ways: in times of struggle to trust that God is with me, to find joy and peace and confidence that God will help me; the ability and the desire to spend time in prayer; to forgive people who hurt me or oppose the church; to find satisfaction in doing the work of the Church and using the gifts and challenges God has given me even when this involves long hours; and my efforts to be a just, godly and helpful person.

Given the fact that each one of us is promised the gifts of the spirit, do we constantly remind ourselves of this? What signs of the Holy Spirit do you recognize in your life? Do you find time to talk and listen to God daily and especially when faced with important decisions? Do we attend worship and pray with your community on a regular basis? Do you treat others with love and respect, and refrain from making judgments about others or criticizing others? Do you find ways of sharing your gifts, time and expertise to help your community and/or neighbors?

In our busy world is there a danger that we do not think about the Holy Spirit? Perhaps we don’t understand the gifts of the Spirit, we forget to pray for the guidance of the spirit, and we do not expect anything from the spirit. I ask that in celebrating Pentecost today, you remember the profound impact the spirit had on the apostles, and the amazing energy and guidance of the spirit in the Church down through the ages in our world. Reflect on the gifts of the Holy Spirit that have been given to you, that too often remain dormant, and invoke these in your spiritual life.

Pray this prayer to the Holy Spirit: Come Holy Spirit, fill our hearts and enkindle in us the fire of your love Send forth again the Spirit and we will be fired up Give us the ability and courage to renew our world O God, you instruct the hearts of all believers by the light of your spirit Grant by the gifts of that spirit that

[Submitted by Father David O’Connor, His email:]

Father David O'Connor 10 Morgantown Road Natchez, MS 39120-2788 601-442-7250