Reading I Acts 2:1-11
Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34
Reading II I Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13
Gospel John 20:19-23
Today as we celebrate Pentecost, it holds great meaning for me. It has always been my favorite solemnity, but also in the liturgical year this was the first Mass of Thanksgiving that I celebrated when I became a priest last year. It has been a privilege to celebrate Pentecost and also what better way to celebrate Mass but by celebrating the baptism of two children.
We know that through our baptism we receive the Holy Spirit and learn how to live out our baptism. One of the things we hear in the readings today is how, even though those in the crowd were Galileans and from different areas, they were able to understand what was being said in their own language. If that happened today it would make pretty significant news.
We understand that the speaking of different languages still happens today because our church is universal and is not made up of people just in the U.S., and it is not made up of people just living in European countries. The church is in the countries of Africa and in Asia. There are even scientists living in the Antarctica who are part of the church. There have been Catholics in space so the church reaches the greatest realms that it can go. And everywhere the church goes — and it doesn’t matter if it is in Mexico, or Ghana, or China — the church teaches the same things and yes, while people hear and understand the readings and teachings in their own language, the church is teaching the same thing calling each person to a greater relationship with Christ.
What I told the children today during the Children’s Liturgy of the Word is still true for us: We are called to celebrate the birthday of the church on Pentecost Sunday, and we are called to celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Even though our own birthday is an event that happens once a year, we are called to celebrate the gifts that God gives us each and every day: Whether we take the time and celebrate the wonderful gift of baptism that is happening today, whether after Mass we go out for lunch and share with our families the gift of being together, whether we go out and take a walk on this beautiful but chilly day and appreciate the gift of nature, or whether we choose to take a nap and celebrate the gift of sleep. The gift of sleep is something parents of young children can truly appreciate, so even taking a nap is a gift that God has given us.
So let us will celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives as each of us remembers the gifts that God has given and shared with us. And let us celebrate the gifts of two teachers who have shared with us their love of children and their love of teaching. We give thanks to God for these two teachers and their gifts of teaching. And we give thanks to God for the gift of baptism. We give thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift of sleep and the gift of holy time.
We pray that in everything we do — we will truly appreciate those gifts that God has given us, and share those gifts with one another because as each of us has witnessed, the gifts that we keep to ourselves do not accomplish a whole lot. But when we share our gifts with one another, when we share the love that God has given us, when we share and celebrate the joy that comes into a classroom or family — we can truly grow in our relationship with Christ, and continue to spread the love of Christ to one another throughout our lives.
Father Adam Pritchard is parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, IL.
(TASCAM DR 40 file 0042)