Pentecost Sunday


Dear Friends,

Today we join the rest of the Christian world to celebrate the great feast of Pentecost. Most Christians –  Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches as well as most Protestant churches – view this as the watershed event in Christianity, the birthday of the Church in many ways. The Acts of the Apostles recounts the story of the original Pentecost when the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary, who were gathered in the Upper Room, were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in different tongues (Acts 2). Peter’s speech that day brought about three thousand people to the way of Jesus. (Acts 2:41). And the Church began to grow.

Pentecost is the New Testament celebration of unity that reverses the Old Testament divisions and animosity of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9. If the people who wanted to build the Tower of Babel were divided by language and race because of pride and arrogance, people on the Pentecost Day were united despite the diversity of language and race. Thus Pentecost is a feast that invites us to live and promote unity in diversity. Our parish of St. Matthias is a living proof of this diversity while keeping our unity in faith and fellowship.

When 44 youth of our parish received the Sacrament of Confirmation two weeks ago, Bishop Checchio reminded everyone present that the Holy Spirit can transform us into bold witnesses of the gospel. For that to happen, he encouraged all, especially the Confirmandi, to attend the church on a regular basis. During his homily, he asked me a question: “Fr. Abraham, if I give you $168 and ask you to return to me just $1, will you accept my offer?” I said yes. And then he told the congregation that God has given us all 168 hours every week for our use and God is asking us to return to God just one hour out of those 168 hours. Spending that one hour in Church every Sunday will have great benefits for us both spiritually and mentally. (Btw, the Bishop still owes me that $168 ☺)

Today’s feast of Pentecost often falls in the month of May, which is the month of Our Lady. Pope Francis encourages us to be praying her special prayer – the Rosary – every day. Considering that May is also the Mental Health Awareness month, we should be expressing with particular zeal our petitions for help and our confidence in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary so that we can experience more peace of mind. Our own young people are inviting all to join the SmyleWithBraces Next Level team and SMYLE Youth Ministry to pray the rosary following the 10:00 Mass this Sunday.

May we all be open to the Holy Spirit who Jesus sends to be our Helper, Comforter and Guide (John 14:16) Let us call upon this Spirit: “Come Holy Spirit, come into my heart and fill me with your grace and power.” Repeat it like a mantra and see what happens to you!

Happy Pentecost!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal