Fr. Raymond Gramata, Pastor
|May 24, 2015
From Your Pastor,
Today is also our birthday, for we are CHURCH. And if we are church, what then is our purpose, what then is our direction? What is the role of the Spirit in the church, in us? Let us look at the Acts of the Apostles chosen for today: “Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire which parted and came to rest on each one of them.” Why this imagery of fire, why not something else? The Spirit enflamed the apostles’ hearts and they went forth to preach. They took up the mantle of Jesus and did as he did. They never looked back. The apostles brought in 4,000 converts that day. The Spirit enflamed their hearts and made them strong.
What then does the Spirit have to do with us? What we read in the Acts of the Apostles happened so many years ago, could it happen today? Ever since that First Pentecost, the Spirit was and is still active in the Church. If you look at our Church history, when we did some pretty bad things, the Spirit always kept us faithful to the words of Jesus. We never lost sight of the words of Jesus. The Church remained faithful to the word of Jesus in spite of its leadership. Definitely - that is the work of the Spirit.
From the First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians we hear these words: “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of the one Spirit.” (1Cor.12: 12-13). In reality, you and I have met the Spirit twice in our life; first, at Baptism and second, at Confirmation. We did not experience the effect of the tongues of fire, but none the less, we did experience the Spirit. Since we have the Spirit with us, we too must act like the Apostles on that First Pentecost - go bravely out and proclaim our faith.
Again from Paul’s letter: “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” So then what are we a scared of? Are we afraid of the separation of Church and state? We should not be. Look at society today and see how it is trying to eradicate God from everything. Just the other day, I was watching TV and a commercial came on asking for donations to an organization funded by atheists supporting the removal of God from our lives. The spokesperson for this commercial was Richard Nixon’s son, who is an actor. He publically declared that he is an atheist and mockingly suggested that he is not worrying about going to hell because of what he said.
You and I are the voice of Jesus in today’s world. Just as Pope Francis’ voice is important, so is ours. We must be heard; we must not say “let someone else do it”. We must not think the task is too large. Pope Francis has shown us the way – just do it. To quote Blessed Pope Paul VI: “Modern man listens more to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” Let us then be witnesses, let us listen to the Spirit that dwells within us. Have a Blessed Pentecost and Happy Birthday.