The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of Pentecost as being “the fiftieth day at the end of the seven weeks following Easter. At the first Pentecost after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was manifested, given and communicated as a Divine Person to the Church, fulfilling the Paschal Mystery of Christ according to His promise.” The CCC reminds us that this is the new ‘age of the Church,’ when Christ lives and acts in and with His Church. The Spirit sends us to announce, bear witness, make present, and spread the mystery of the communion of the Holy Trinity wherever we go. Pentecost was the beginning of the Church’s Mission! The Holy Spirit was sent by Christ to sanctify the Church. The Holy Spirit enlightened and strengthened the Apostles, so they could preach the Gospel fearlessly. We need to be doing the same.
The gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit are often left unused. We are offering the “Called and Gifted” program here in our cluster to help folks embrace their God-given gifts. There are many reasons the gifts we receive from the Spirit are often not evident. One is that that when we were Confirmed, our experience of that sacrament was just reduced to “classes” that required intellectual mastery of materials to be learned and very little prayer. We often do not have the level of commitment to the Faith and prayer that allows these gifts to appear in our lives.
Before the Synod took place last year, we as an Archdiocese prayed for the Holy Spirit to set us on fire anew. The New Evangelization is unfolding and breathing new life into the Church in Detroit. “Unleash the Gospel” is a major push to change the DNA of the Church in Detroit to one of a Body of Christ on MISSION. What we are attempting is nothing less than a radical overhaul of the Church in Detroit, a complete reversal of our focus from inward, or maintenance-focused, to outward, or mission-focused. We need to undo some of what we’ve become as a people of Christ – passive in prioritizing and living our faith, sad about the perceived decline of the importance of Jesus and Church institutions, and accustomed to a discontent rooted in believing there is little that can be done.
As you attend Mass this weekend, as you get up every morning, as you share in conversations with those around you, pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit. It will bring about this change first in your own heart, through an encounter with Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to allow the Faith to grow in your home and institute the things that will make it happen. Do things like reading the scriptures from Mass as a family before coming to church and discussing them, take a Bible study, read a book about a saint, visit the Solanus Casey center, and/or stop by a Catholic church at least once during the week to pray in front of the tabernacle. Happy Pentecost!