The Cost of Pentecost

Friends, Romans, countrymen: it’s good to be back with you. The seminary year is almost over and final exams are on the horizon. I think about that, and I’m like “you gotta be kiddin’ me!” To my chagrin, test and paper time has arrived; alas….the free time I have for things is waning quickly.

I’ll talk about the year and summer plans and all that stuff sometime down the road, but for now I have some thoughts I’d like to share with you about the upcoming Feast of Pentecost which we will celebrate this year on May 19, my 21st birthday (yes, I will celebrate the Spirit with some spirits).

Penecost has always been one of my favorite days on the Church calendar, mostly because my parish has these great tongues of fire things that hang from the ceiling and because red is one of my favorite colors. This year, though, it dawned on me: there really must be something more to this feast than colors and tongues. But what?

Of course, Pentecost is the celebration of Jesus sending his Holy Spirit down upon the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room awaiting the advocate that Jesus had promised he would send. It is reported in Acts of the Apostles that there came a sound like great wind and there were tongues of fire resting upon the shoulders of the disciples gathered there, at which they began to speak in many tongues and went out to preach and teach the Gospel as Jesus commanded at the end of the Gospel of Matthew. The best part: people thought they were crazy and drunk until one by one the foreigners assembled outside said (each in his own tongue) “HEY WAITAMINUTE………HE’S SPEAKIN MA SPEAK, TALKIN MA TALK…..say, fella, who is dis Jesus guy anyhow?” And about 3000 converts were made. Badabing, badaboom. Man, is Jesus Christ cool or what?

But there still has to be something more to all of this. Essentially, what is the cost of Pentecost? The cost of Pentecost is paid by God, and the price is, well, himself…..again. At the Incarnation God gave of himself as he sent his only Son into the world to suffer, die on a cross, and rise again. At Pentecost, he gives even more of himself; his very spirit becomes a gift to us. It becomes our guide, our advocate, our counselor, our friend. It gives us gifts and bears for us fruits. It inspires us, guides us, heals us, and leads us more closely to the heart of God and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Yeah yeah yeah, but what does this mean? The only fitting response is to imitate this action of God: we must constantly give of ourselves and lay down our lives for and to the one who gave it all for us and our redemption. Just as God gives of himself in such an intimate way at Pentecost, so are we called to give of ourselves in the form of our respective vocations. We have to give everything, surrender everything to the Lord Jesus Christ who looks so deeply into our eyes and asks, “Can you do this for me? Will you become who I need you to be? Will you stand up for me and my Church? Will you, with my help, be all that I created you to be?”

And, with the help of the Holy Spirit, may we always be able to say without fear, hesitation, or personal ambition: “Yes, Lord, I can…and I will.”

Let us pray as Pentecost approaches that we will have what it takes to follow Jesus more closely with the help of the Holy Spirit and that we will not be afraid to let our hearts and minds be totally transformed by the power and love of Jesus Christ.

Breathe in us, O Holy Spirit, that we may think what is holy.
Urge us, O Holy Spirit, that we may do what is holy.
Woo us, O Holy Spirit, that we may love what is holy.
Strengthen us, O Holy Spirit, that we may guard what is holy.
Protect us, O Holy Spirit, that we may never lose what is holy.
   – St. Augustine

God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us!


RA