Happy Birthday: To The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church
Readings: 1st: Acts 2, 1-11; Ps: 103, 1. 24-34; 2nd: Rom 8, 8-17 Gos: Jn 14, 15-16.23-26)
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Today is Pentecost Sunday. The celebration of our birthdays is always a moment of great joy and feast. We have a great reason to be happy, celebrate, and exchange good wishes because today is the birthday of the Holy Mother Church. Easter is the feast of the light, of the new life that begins with Christ’s resurrection. Pentecost is the celebration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It marks the beginning of the new covenant and the birth of the public life of the church.
Our first reading relates the events of the coming of the Holy Spirit as a great manifestation of God’s power. The speaking in different tongues understood by all the Jews that came to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Pentecost was a miracle. It was a clear manifestation of the mission of the universal church. It is a call for the church to be a sign of human unity. This is irrespective of race, color, or language.
In the second reading, Paul reminds us that, through our “Pentecostal experience” today, an indelible mark has been placed upon us. Hence, God has specially configured us for his mission. This means that it is the Holy Spirit that gives life and directs our mission. Therefore, through today’s outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we are genuinely and fully marked as God’s children. Though adopted, we are full heirs to God’s throne and heritage.
Today’s gospel reminds us of the principal roles of the Holy Spirit. These include: advocating, teaching, and reminding us of the things we ought to know. However, for this to be possible, we must be ready to cooperate with him. He can only advocate for us if we trust him and allow him to be in charge of our case. He can only teach us if we pay attention to his counsel. He can only remind us of the things we ought to know if we humbly and willing say to him all the time: “Help me because I am ignorant. Enlighten the eyes of my mind, O Holy Spirit.”
What then will the Holy Spirit that we have received today help us to accomplish? First, the Holy Spirit we have received today is not a spirit of fear and timidity. Instead, it is the Spirit that empowers us and makes us children of God. This means that we are now bold to call God Abba Father.
God gives us the Holy Spirit that we might bear good fruits that will last (Gal 5:22) and to help and also empower others. It was also given to us to lead us into the kingdom of righteousness, and peace and bring us to the fullness of life. So, as we rejoice at this beautiful gesture that God has extended to us today, let us ask Him for the grace to be docile to the Holy Spirit we have received.
Finally, happy birthday, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Happy birthday to all the Faithful of God all over the world. Happy birthday to all my beloved confreres of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). May the Holy Spirit continue to lead us all: “To the ends of the earth.” Long live the Holy Mother Church!
Peace be with you!