Pentecost Sunday 2019

‘When Pentecost day came around, the apostles had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting.’ Acts 2:1,2.

This Sunday at Mass will be the celebration of the great feast of Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church.  Pentecost is a Greek word meaning ‘Fiftieth’ or ‘Fifty Days’ and was a Jewish harvest festival called ‘Shavuot’ which would be celebrated to thank the Lord for all His goodness to them as provider and sustainer of His people. Jews still celebrate Shavuot also known as the Festival of Weeks (Jesus Himself would have celebrated this feast along with His disciples.) On this special day already holy to the Jews, some fifty days after Jesus had risen triumphantly from the dead, the promised Gift of the Holy Spirit is given to all the disciples as they waited in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, just as Jesus had instructed them, and Mary, the Mother of Jesus was with them. Thus the early Christian Church was born.

We too have received this promised gift of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity when we received our Baptism.  This made us children of God and members of His Family.  The Holy Spirit strengthens us every time we receive Jesus in Holy Communion at Mass and when we come together to celebrate the Eucharist.  He also moulds and shapes up into the people we are to become through the healing Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession.  The Father has lavished His love upon us by calling us His Adopted Sons and Daughters and He has generously poured forth His Holy and Life-giving Spirit to us and has filled our hearts and lives with His goodness.

Without the Holy Spirit’s Presence in our lives it is impossible for us to please God.  His gentle influence (He is often shown symbolically as a dove) helps us to grow into the person God wants us to be and we become ever so slowly like Jesus.  God Our Father loves us dearly and unconditionally and this was proven through the Life of Jesus, especially His cruel sufferings and Death on the Cross.

His promised Gift of Himself in the Person of His Holy Spirit (He is not an idea, concept or attitude but He is a Person with Personality, Feelings which can be pleased or hurt if we grieve Him) and He will help us in our day to day lives.  However, He will not force us to love Him or ask Him into our lives in a new and deeper way.  He respects our decision and if we choose Him, He will gladly and joyfully come to us afresh like living water springing up within us to eternal life!

This week we celebrated with joy our Year 7 and 8 pupils who made their Confirmation in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and the Parish of St Peter, Bromsgrove.  These young people became full members of the Church and received the Holy Spirit in a new and beautiful way.  They received the promised Gift of the Holy Spirit and may we remember to continue to pray for them as they journey in their faith.  May we also ask the Holy Spirit to come to us in a new and deeper way as we pray “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love! Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created and You shall renew the face of the earth.”

O Holy Spirit of God,

Who descended upon the Apostles and filled them with your power and wisdom,

watch over me and guide me in all my thoughts and acts.

Never let me forget to call on you whenever I need help. 

O Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth,

come into our hearts and shine the brightness of your light on all people,

that they may be one in faith and pleasing to you.  Amen

O Come, Holy Spirit, Living Water from Heaven, refresh and renew us!

Lord our God, renew Your wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost.

Grant to Your Church that, being of one mind

and steadfast in prayer with Mary, the Blessed Mother of Jesus,

and following the lead of Saint Peter, it may advance the reign

of Our King of Glory, Jesus, Our Divine Saviour,

the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace.

In the Name of Christ, Our Lord.

Amen.                                                                                   Prayer to the Holy Spirit by Saint John XXIII (Pope)

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