mapOur Location
Check on Maps
mapNext Service
7:30am & 9:00am

pope banner2

Jun 2, 2017 Written by  Fr. Paulino Twesigye Mondo

Pentecost Sunday Year A Be the first to comment!

holyspirit

Theme: Come Holy Spirit

Today, as Church, we celebrate all our birth day in faith. Despite the challenges, failures and tests, the endurance of discipleship has made us witness that Jesus is alive. With this conviction; the Church survives and even thrives! Unlike the survivors of televised notoriety who go it alone, we know that the endurance, perseverance keeps us together as a Church due to the Holy Spirit who does not permit us to be relegated to distant memory or closed away in history’s book. The Holy Spirit instead empowers the Church to be pertinent, relevant and ever attentive to the changing circumstances that call forth its best efforts at service at speaking truth and making known the good news.

The moment Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit; we were overturned and our hearts were set on fire. Because of the Holy Spirit, the disciples become a life-sharing community, grew in mutual love thus becoming holy. Through the gift of the Spirit the isolated and the alienated were offered an alternative. We may call this alternative ‘communal life with its clean-hot love’. In its apex, community members shared property that they had formerly held close to the vest and selfishness evaporated. No needy or suffering went untended. No one thought in terms of ‘mine’ and ‘yours’; rather, all was considered ‘ours’. This is how it still can be. Paul, Luke and the John tell us the same thing. Under the influence of the Spirit, community is born and that community can survive and even thrive if the movement of the Spirit continues to be welcomed.   

First Reading Acts 2:1-11

Today we remember and celebrate the imaginative pioneers who were the first to be identified as Church. These first followers /historicals of Jesus of Nazareth took the risk and became the first members of the Jesus movement. Their willingness to risk themselves and their security enabled them to explore and go forward into the unknown future without the benefit of a roadmap or any sure guarantees. Because those early believers had the guts to venture beyond Judaism and Jerusalem, their daring changed the cultural complexion of the Church. No longer simply a sect of Judaism, Christianity became an international community, a melting pot of unique cultures and peoples unified in Christ.

The diversity of this new community is clearly in evidence in today’s first reading where Luke describes those who listened to Peter as hailing from “from every nation under heaven” Acts 2:5. Luke also affirms here the intended unity amid all this diversity, as he attests that all present heard what was being proclaimed in their native tongues. Luke perfectly depicts the ongoing tension between the Spirit’s disruptiveness and its power to unite. Though the Spirit arrived in the midst of noise, wind and fire, each an unsettling element; all were able to comprehend each other. The Holy Spirit is still the force that empowers the disciples to speak to the crowd in such a unifying way that everyone hears them speaking in their ‘own tongue about the marvels God has accomplished’. This ought to be our methodology. What happened that time ought also to continue happening now.

1Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13

As we celebrate the gift of the Spirit and the birthday of the Church, St. Paul sets before us both the diversity and the unity that characterized the community of believers in Jesus. Diverse gifts given by one Spirit are intended for the good of all. Members who had different genders, social status, ethnic origins, languages, ages and backgrounds became one by virtue of the one Spirit from whom all partake and the one baptism in which all are washed clean. St. Paul points out two of the strongest claims that the bible and tradition make upon us as Jesus’ followers: We are to form community and to serve the common good. That is why faith really matters to our new generation. In our consumer culture, it is easy to worry more and more about ourselves, to become individualistic, to use others for personal gain. But the Christian call is to move beyond oneself by giving and receiving love and form a community that works toward the transformation of its members and society at large.

Though a variety of groups continue to exist among us; clearly, human society hungers for community, mutual exchange and support among its members. Paul understood that people’s hunger for such mutual union and support is truly satisfied only by belonging to Christ and surrendering to the workings of the Spirit within ourselves. The authenticity of one’s belonging and surrendering, insisted Paul, can be determined by a simple profession of profound faith saying: ‘Jesus is Lord’.

Those willing to make this confession are speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit; those who deny Jesus’ Lordship are not. Of course, this simple criterion cannot resolve all questions or settle all disputes, but it can awaken the community to the need for critical discernment. Before being able to declare, ‘Jesus is Lord’, the Corinthians had to leave behind a pagan past and commit to Jesus. Their confession meant that Zeus was not Lord, nor was Caesar or any other gods or goddesses to which they may have ascribed. Their example and Paul’s wise counsel invite us Christians of today to ask ourselves: Who or what must I leave behind in order to declare truthfully, with my lips and with my life that ‘Jesus is Lord’? Who or what must I leave behind in order to immerse more deeply of the Spirit and be truer to my baptismal commitment, so as to witness to the world that true communion with one another in Christ is possible? When we receive the Holy Spirit, the impossible becomes possible.

Gospel John 20:19-23

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is featured as the giver of the Spirit to the Church and all humankind. Jesus breathes into his own the life force that will not only sustain them until his return but will also empower them/and us to continue his mission of bestowing peace and forgiveness on a fractured, fragile world. The risen Jesus’ commission of the disciples stands at the head of all Christian witness, all mission, all discipleship, all reshaping of our world. This great commission, combined with Jesus breathing forth the Spirit upon his own, signaled a new creation, much like the creation described in Genesis. With this new creation of the Church and its mission, new possibilities are opened up. Possibilities for peace, forgiveness and mutual communion that will be realized through the Spirit. These possibilities for peace and forgiveness are not yet fully realized among us. This truth should prompt greater effort and a more zealous commitment on our part as we continue to call ourselves Christian.

Our commitment grows deeper if we recall that our baptism marked the day when each of us began a new life in Christ and when Pentecost became a lived reality. It is that day that set the direction for our life. Without Pentecost, Christ’s work would have been incomplete; his death proved his love for us, but it would not, of itself, improve our lot. We would be able to admire him from afar, but there could be no effective following of him, no calling him ‘Brother’ ‘God’ ‘Abba’. It is Pentecost that makes all of this possible. Now we must realize those possibilities for ourselves and for all, today and every day. Those of us who grew up with the idea that the Church is an institution grew up having no need of a Holy Spirit, except at exam time. Institutions run themselves, even institutions that deal in God’s business. Besides, good institutions, unlike the Church, seem to operate best with minimum diversity and maximum conformity. Thankfully, the early Christian community never thought of itself as an institution. We know from their writings that Jesus’ first followers regarded themselves as parts of his body, a community of believers carrying on his work and ministry, daily participa­ting in his death and resurrection.

As Jesus’ body the community required a special force and power, not only to make certain its members were continuing to maintain the mentality of the person it represented and imitated, but also to keep its members from splitting apart. The first Christians didn’t conceive of the Holy Spirit as someone who helped them create dogmas; they regarded the Holy Spirit as an amazing, essential power helping them form community, as the force responsible for all the contradic­tions that good communities embody. Today’s readings only make sense when we hear them proclaimed against such a background. Paul carries on the same theme in Corinth. Some in the Corinthian Church were using their individual gifts of the Spirit for their own personal benefit and not for the community’s benefit.  The apostle writes: “There are different gifts, but the same Spirit ... different ministries but the same Lord ... different works, but the same God. ... To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” 1Corinthians 12:4-10. The Holy Spirit specifically brings about unity. Jesus, after greeting his Easter-night disciples with the great commission: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you!” John 20:21 immediately breathed on them, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you hold them bound, they are held bound” John 20:22-23. Given the forgiving context of John’s Gospel, Jesus’ gift of the Spirit empowers us to forgive one another. His mention of holding someone’s sins bound is in fact recognition and reminder of what happens when we don’t fall back on the Spirit. Only those who forgive are able to form and maintain the body of Christ as a living, growing entity.

When we study history we may be tempted to admit that the short life and awful death of Jesus was just a blip on the secular screen in his day too. After Jesus died, Herod remained king, the Romans kept occupying the county, the drachma retained its value, the poor stayed poor, the Jordan kept flowing into the sea, religion and politics resumed their incessant, uneasy truce. In order to find one single difference that Jesus made in the real world, you had to follow the winding streets of Jerusalem to a certain private home and climb the rickety stairs to the upper room. There you would have discovered eleven men and one woman gathered together in an uncertain mixture of fear and hope. They had gathered secretively to decide what to do about their friend Jesus. All the other would-be disciples had melted into the countryside and found some way to pick up their old lives. But this group of twelve was in for a rather bigger surprise. After receiving the Holy Spirit, rather than going their separate ways, they were convinced to band together as a permanent community. They decided that they would witness to everyone that Jesus was the personal, permanent presence of God in the world. They vowed to be a sign that our dubious, ambivalent human life was once divinely lived. Then the Church was born.

This insignificant band of believers gradually spread to the ends of the earth. And they were successful not because they were smart, rich or powerful but because people who met them kept saying, ‘see how they love one another’. This incredible memory brings us back to the Church here in our own country and even in our own parish. You old-timers have your own memories. But in general, it must be admitted that the once-thriving visits have fallen into silence, murders are not rare and muggings are routine, social life has become noisier and hysterical. And the influence of the Church in our area may be a column in the newspapers. It is not so well-known that we have a fine school and a beautiful liturgy. It is even less known that we give 10 % of our offertory collection to the poor. What is known is that everyone says how friendly you are. That’s a step in the right direction. But we won’t live up to our birthright of Pentecost until they say, ‘see how they love one another. We are not reading the Bible carefully if we think the Holy Spirit came just once upon Jesus’ followers, structuring them into an institution that would continue unchanged until the end of time. Pope St. John XXIII once said that as a Church, ‘we are not on earth to guard a museum, but to cultivate a flourishing garden of life’. His words are never more meaningful than when we bring them to mind on the feast of Pentecost and the current situation of humanity today.

Application

Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. It celebrates that specific moment when the Holy Spirit descended on the first followers of Jesus and impelled them to spread the good news of God all over the earth. It is customary on birthdays to celebrate the person’s past life, to give thanks for that life, to rejoice in that life, to brag a little about how much better the world is because of that life. At first glance, the world does not seem to be a better place since Church was born. There is a widening gap between rich and poor people, nations are competing for the biggest share in the world economy and the most explosive military package. New diseases pop up at random while more people are without health care; and the biggest potential crisis in our world is the possibility of a religious war between Christianity and others. The Holy Spirit, who moved the earliest believers in Jesus to overcome their reluctance, can do the same today by moving us to see beyond our fears and prejudices thus making the world a better place to live in. Pope Francis reminds us to build bridges rather than fortified walls that keep strangers to even our immediate neighbour. Pentecost is a simple reminder that the whole world is one single family of God.

286

Leave a comment

Like us on Facebook

Amoris1

Donate to Us

Amount Tooltip US $10.00
US $20.00
US $30.00
US $40.00
US $
Payment method

LAUDATOSIHighResCover300

Support this project

priesthouse

reflect

Comments

Sunday Masses

Luganda: 7:30 am.  English: 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 5;00 pm.

Crowd possible, please don't be late! May God bless you!

About Our Church

Welcome to Our Lady of Africa Parish Mbuya. We are located near Bugolobi Township in Nakawa Division. It is about 5 kms from the City Centre of Kampala. Mbuya Catholic Parish is a vibrant and diverse community made up of people from different parts of Uganda. We welcome you warmly and joyfully.

holy bible