Pentecost: Jesus' Mission Depends on Ordinary People Like Us

We are pleased to present this Pentecost Homily by Deacon Noe Tuason, which was delivered at St. John the Baptist on Pentecost Sunday, July 12, 2011.  Deacon Noe will going on a mission immersion trip with Maryknoll to East Africa in  a couple weeks.

The Holy Spirit who descended on the disciples on the day of Pentecost, is the same Spirit who descended upon us when we were baptized, and when we were confirmed.  The Spirit who formed the disciples into a community and moved them, is the same Spirit who animates our Church.  The Mission that Jesus gave the disciples at that time, is the same Mission given to each and every one of us, no matter who we are.

What is this mission?  Do you know?  This mission, our mission is to tell the whole world, that Jesus, by dying on the cross and rising after three days, and by ascending into heaven, gave us the chance of rising too after we die and being united with God, in Heaven, in His love, for all eternity.  This is the Gospel, the Good News of our salvation.  We must tell the whole world that God's love and gift of salvation is not reserved for a few, but for everyone – for all who will accept it. The Gospel is the power of God, the power to release people from their burden of guilt, sin, and oppression, and the power to heal, restore, and make them whole.

But, you might ask, why me?  Why should I be the one to bring that Good News?  I am just a dad, or a mom, or student, or old man or woman, or just a child.  I am not a priest, not even a deacon.  I don’t know much about theology, or even the doctrines of the Catholic Church.  I am not a good public speaker.  I get so nervous before an audience.  Even if I can speak in public, how do I know what I am saying is right.   I am just an ordinary person.

You are right, we may just be ordinary people.  We are not movers and shakers.  But think about this.  Jesus did not go to the temples to find his disciples.  He took ordinary people like us from many walks of life.  They were, so to speak, plucked off the streets.  He gathered them, trained them by word and example, and inspired them with a vision.  He linked them together and sent them out into the world.  Initially, the disciples did not know what to do and how to do them.  They were afraid.  But, by the Power of the Holy Spirit, they changed the greatest empire in the world-the Roman Empire.

The Spirit that gave them the power to go into the world, is the same Spirit that dwells within us.  The seven gifts that the Spirit gave them--Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, and Fear of God to help them in their mission, are the same seven gifts that the Spirit gives us.

We must open ourselves to the Power of the Spirit.  We must believe that He is within us.  We must believe that with those gifts, we can do anything.  If we cannot preach with words, let us preach by example, let us preach by our action.  As we say sometimes, actions speak louder than words.  That might be a cliché but what people see, not what they hear, speaks a thousand words.

As we leave the Church today, let us wear our Christianity as a badge in our minds and in our hearts.  Let us bring the Gospel by just who we are and how we relate to people.  Let everyone around us see the fruits of the Holy Spirit in us: by being charitable, by bringing joy and peace, by being patient, kind, generous, gentle, faithful, modest, disciplined, and clean both in and out; or, in the ultimate analysis, by being simply a good person.

If we have been remiss in some of these fruits of the Spirit, then let today’s celebration of Pentecost be a new beginning for us just as it was to the disciples of Jesus Christ.  Let that event 2,000 years ago be TODAY, when strong driving wind came from the sky filling the entire house, and tongues as of fire parted and rested on the disciples heads.   My brothers and sisters in Christ, let the Power of the Holy Spirit fill our hearts today and kindle in us the fire of God’s love.