this past sunday was the feast of pentecost. i celebrated with the wonderful community at christ our hope parish in downtown seattle. at the mass, four young people– viviana, kimberly, aldo, and randy– celebrated the sacrament of confirmation and their first communion.
it was wonderful!
for the homily, i brought the four up in front of the whole congregation. we waved to the folks joining us on the facebook live stream and then– i sang them happy birthday. the kids looked a bit confused but i then explained to them that the Spirit that descended upon the apostles and mary in the upper room was the birth of the church: and each of them are part of the church along with their parents, godparents and all gathered. so pentecost is our (re)birth day. each year the Spirit gives us this feast to be renewed in grace and the faith. and that it is an opportunity to rediscover God’s love for us. and we get to proclaim our love for God together– as the body of christ, the church.
when it is possible, i think that celebrating confirmation and first eucharist at sunday mass is the ideal. we all need to be reminded of the power, gifts and fruits of the Spirit so we can live life as best we can. we all need the renewal of the refreshing waters of baptism in confirmation and eucharist to be reminded who we really are: daughters and sons of God.
i am always deeply honored that i can lead a group of “strangers” in this renewal. in the dynamic of liturgy, we are actually sisters and brothers because of God’s love; we belong and walk together. this love is the true source of JOY in our lives. joy helps us be good witnesses of the good news of jesus as the christ and life in the Spirit.
my only regret is that pentecost is only one day liturgically; yesterday we went back to ordinary time on the liturgical calendar. i would vote for a liturgical octave for pentecost like we do at christmas and easter– eight straight days of the power of the Holy Spirit at mass!!
in place of a closing prayer, let’s revisit the scripture and be renewed now in the Holy Spirit:
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.” acts 2: 1-11