Feast Of Pentecost
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: June 5, 2022
God has a plan, a vision for all creation, in particular, God has a plan or vision for humanity. This was revealed in Jesus and it is expressed in the image of the Kingdom of God. Knowing the vision of God helps us to know how we are to live, what we are to be doing in this life. What is the mission we have as Christians, what is the mission of the Church?
An important aspect of that vision of God is seen in the Feast of Pentecost, as we see it described in the Acts of the Apostle Chapter two, that we heard as our first reading today. It was a mystical experience described as tongues of fire and a violent wind. This experience of the Spirit gave the first disciples courage and overcame their fear.
But, an important underlying event was that there were people there from many different nations and places. Yet, they were all able to understand in their different languages. It symbolizes the re-uniting of humanity. All diverse peoples were now able to be united in one human family. This is the plan or vision of God for humanity. That we be united, that we live as brothers and sisters, no longer divided into separate groups who exclude or reject those who are “other.”
The peace that Jesus brings us allows us to overcome fear that divides us, that separates us, that cuts us off from one another. Our mission as disciples, our mission as a church, is to be instruments of unity. To bring forgiveness, to work for reconciliation, to overcome differences. The purpose of Christianity is not to form a separate group apart from everyone else. We are not to be an elite group superior to others. We are to be working to bring about the vision of God that sees humanity as united rather than divided against each other.
The church should not be focused on excluding or rejecting, rather we should be focused on how to include and to gather together. It would be a good exercise for us to look at those who feel excluded or cut off by the church. This is a failure of the church and each of us need to allow the Holy Spirit to move us to be instruments of unity and peace.
That mission is reflected in a Catholic parish in that each person should matter. The smallest little baby, that senior who has been in the parish for years but is now away in a nursing home unable to be here. For those who are married, divorced, single. Young and old, men and women. People of all nations, those who have been here for years and those of you who have joined the parish yesterday. This is the power of Pentecost, the power of the Holy Spirit. The vision of God for the unity of humanity.
You and I are called to be instruments of peace, instruments of unity, empowered by the Spirit.