Eastertide concludes with Pentectost Sunday, the fiftieth day. At Pentecost, we commemorate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the apostles and Mary by which Christ’s paschal mystery was brought to its completion.
On Pentecost Sunday, June 9, Archbishop Gregory will celebrate a special Mass at 3pm in the Cathedral at which over 100 Catholics from around the Archdiocese of Washington, including 17 candidates prepared at St. Matthew’s, will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Let us celebrate with them this final step in their initiation and keep them in our prayers.
Opening to the Holy Spirit—Gain Strength and Perseverance!
In his 2015 Pentecost Sunday homily, Pope Francisshared the following thoughts on the Holy Spirit.
“The world needs men and women who are not closed in on themselves, but filled with the Holy Spirit. Closing oneself off from the Holy Spirit means not only a lack of freedom; it is a sin. There are many ways one can close oneself off to the Holy Spirit: by selfishness for one’s own gain; by rigid legalism – seen in the attitude of the doctors of the law to whom Jesus referred as “hypocrites”; by neglect of what Jesus taught; by living the Christian life not as service to others but in the pursuit of personal interests; and in so many other ways. The world needs the courage, hope, faith and perseverance of Christ’s followers. The world needs the fruits of the Holy Spirit: 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control' (Gal 5:22). The gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed upon the Church and upon each one of us, so that we may live lives of genuine faith and active charity, that we may sow the seeds of reconciliation and peace. Strengthened by the Spirit and his many gifts, may we be able uncompromisingly to battle against sin and corruption, devoting ourselves with patient perseverance to the works of justice and peace."
Transformation by the Holy Spirit—A New Life!
In a commentary on the gospel of St. John, Saint Cyril of Alexandria, bishop, wrote the following on the subject of transformation by the Holy Spirit.
“It can easily be shown from examples both in the Old Testament and the New that the Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell; he so transforms them that they begin to live a completely new kind of life. Saul was told by the prophet Samuel: ‘The Spirit of the Lord will take possession of you, and you shall be changed into another man.’ Saint Paul writes: ‘As we behold the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, that glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit, transforms us all into his own likeness, from one degree of glory to another.’
Does this not show that the Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell and alters the whole pattern of their lives? With the Spirit within them it is quite natural for people who had been absorbed by the things of this world to become entirely other-worldly in outlook, and for cowards to become men of great courage. There can be no doubt that this is what happened to the disciples. The strength they received from the Spirit enabled them to hold firmly to the love of Christ, facing the violence of their persecutors unafraid. Very true, then, was our Saviour’s saying that it was to their advantage for him to return to heaven: his return was the time appointed for the descent of the Holy Spirit.”