Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pentecost Sunday

Today we commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. It is the fiftieth day of Easter. It was an annual feast day of the Jews back then. Many came to Jerusalem to commemorate that day when Moses descended from Mount Horeb with the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. Then, Moses found that many of the Hebrews fell into idolatry and were worshipping a golden calf fashioned by Aaron. Moses told those who wanted to be for God to come to him. The rest, who remained obstinate in their sins, were to be slain by the faithful ones who had come over to Moses. Some three thousand were put to the sword. (Ex. 32:38)

On this particular day, ten days after Jesus ascended into Heaven, the eleven Apostles were somewhat afraid. They were without their Leader. I am sure that Mary was encouraging them. They were probably praying. Suddenly the room in which they were gathered shook with wind, tongues of flame appeared above each of the Apostles’ heads. They knew that God was present. In fact it was the Third Person of the Holy Trinity who was there giving them his gifts among which was fortitude.

The Apostles were no longer fearful. God was with them. God, the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit were with them. Where one Person is, so are all three. They courageously went into the streets of Jerusalem to preach the truth that their Teacher had taught them. The result? About three thousand were added to their number (Acts 2:41), as if to counter the same number of those who had deserted God centuries before at the foot of Mt. Horeb.

Many depart from God today to worship their own false idols. They are the usual idols of greed, power, constant pleasure; in short, self-centeredness. God loves them as certainly as He loves us. But, He needs us to be like His Apostles of two millennia ago. He asks us to teach the same unchanged truth that His Son teaches us.

Father Stanley

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