June 5, 2022 – Pentecost Sunday
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/060522-day.cfm)
What keeps us from truly expressing ourselves? What prevents us from sharing ourselves to others? What stops us from being truly free? Fear of being not accepted, of being rejected and thus, of being hurt prevents us from being free, from sharing and opening up ourselves to and for others.
This is how our traumatic and painful experiences of abuse in whatever form that is, or of betrayal, of failures, shame and guilt, or of separation and death – could paralyze our relationships, damage our self-esteem and hamper our maturity in all aspects of life.
However, God desires that we become fully human according to God’s image, and that is by being truly free and having developed our full potentials as persons in all aspect of our life.
Today, as we celebrate the Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit into the Church, we are being reminded today of this desire of God for us to have peace, to be free, to be filled with all the good things that God offers us as individuals and as a Church.
So, allow me now to bring you a bit deeper into our readings today that we may also be able to see and claim what God has prepared for us today, on this Pentecost Sunday.
The Gospel that has been proclaimed to us today would tell us about the terrified situation of the disciples. The disciples were in hiding. They were terrified and so they locked themselves because of so much fear. They did not want to go out anymore, to socialize with their other friends and relatives or to continue preaching about the kingdom of God and healing people’s illnesses. They were rather filled with fear.
But then, such attitude could also make us controlling and demanding in our relationships to the point that we direct others on how they should treat us, or accommodate us and love us according to how we want it. We do not think of others then, because we do not want any compromise. We only think of ourselves, locked in those painful past but terrified of the present. This was how the terrified disciples kept themselves in a locked room. It was a paralysis to love and be loved, to forgive and be forgiven.
This is the very reason why Jesus appeared in the midst of his fearful disciples. Jesus wants them to get out from the attitude of fear. Jesus penetrated those fearful and closed hearts of the disciples and gave them PEACE. And that peace filled their hearts with the Holy Spirit. With that, it completely changed all of them.
The Holy Spirit indeed calmed and gave confidence to their terrified hearts, healed their wounded hearts, forgave their hearts that were found guilty, freed their imprisoned and locked hearts, and filled their hearts longing for love.
In fact, in the Acts of the Apostles, it was proclaimed to us how the Holy Spirit changed the disciples. That is why, aside from the noise that sounded like a violent wind and the tongues of fire that rested on each of them, there was a more interesting expression of the Spirit that happened there. The disciples of the Lord who were mostly Galileans proclaimed the goodness and power of God. Though they spoke in their own native language yet strangers and foreigners understood what the disciples were proclaiming about.
Yes, foreign peoples grasped what the disciples of Jesus had proclaimed because at that moment, they became confident and unafraid. They were able to get out from their fears of being persecuted, from their doubts about Jesus and from their insecurities of the coming days. They realized how good God is. They truly believed that “Jesus is Lord.”
All of these realizations were fruits of their journey with Jesus. With the Holy Spirit, the disciples found peace in their hearts, meaning, these fearful and doubtful disciples had at last found and recognized God in their life, in their human experiences. This is how the Holy Spirit creates and renews us, as the Psalm proclaims to us today. As we are being renewed by the Spirit then we shall begin to see and recognize God’s indwelling presence in everyone and in everything, and in every circumstance of our life.
Jesus said, “Peace be with you!” which also means, “I am with you!” because Jesus is the Prince of Peace. The Lord who is with his disciples sends them now. And so, they have become witnesses of Jesus – witnesses who convey God’s offer of salvation and love not just to a particular group of people but to all, to Jews and Greeks, to rich and poor, to you and to me.
This is also how the foreigners understood the disciples of the Lord and in effect were converted to believe in Jesus. Thus, a church was born, a church that is not fearful of persecutions and a church that joyfully sings God’s goodness and love.
What is it to you and to me now, as a church gathered here today?Our birthday celebration today is not meant to be a mere remembering of the distant past. This feast of the Pentecost calls us rather to relive and to re-experience the first Pentecost – and that is to experience again that confidence with God, being secured by his love, by being courageous and honest enough to share the kindness of God and his love to others.Because you and I, have already received the Holy Spirit.
We may be constantly aware, then, of the Holy Spirit in all of our human experiences and relationships. In that way, we may be renewed by the Spirit who is ready to free a heart locked in fear and insecurities, ready to calm and give confidence to our terrified heart, ready to heal our wounded heart, ready to forgive our heart that has been found guilty, and ready to fill a heart longing for love. Kabay pa.