Pentecost Sunday

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pentecostis celebrated the fiftieth day at the end of the seven weeks following Easter. Pentecost is a Greek word meaning fifty and it marks the beginning of a new age in the Church — the fulfillment of a promise made by Jesus and is marked by the descent of the Holy Spirit as we hear about in our reading from the Acts of the Apostles this weekend. In the Gospel of John, as Jesus “breathes” on the Apostles, giving them the gift of the Holy Spirit, it also commemorates the supernatural and apostolic life of our faith — the source of the teaching and sacramental authority of the Church. I think it is also interesting to note that in Judaism, this fifty days after Passover (the same timeframe), is marked by the Feast of Weeks, also known as the first fruits of the wheat harvest. So, in some respect there is a link between the old and new covenant.

Today then is the perfect time for us to reflect and meditate on the importance of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. To do so, I felt inspired to write and share this story with you, it is called The Advocate.

It was a large, bustling city, a cultural melting pot with people from all corners of the globe. Even in large crowded places however there are people places and things that stand out and he, in a very quiet way stood out. His name was Adam Paraclete, he was sort of plain and unassuming.  He was very transparent, honest, and dependable with impeccable timing.  Despite that, he could be quite private too. He didn’t talk much about himself or his family. What he did say indicated that he once lived on a high mountain in a very rural place. There was no mention of a mother but periodically he would talk about his dad and his brother. He said his dad and brother still lived in the same small town where he originated from doing a lot of work behind the scenes. Some thought that his dad must be involved in some sort of real estate because Adam would periodically talk about the variety of houses that existed on his dad’s property and the wide array of people that came to stay there. His brother appeared to be some form of craftsman leading some people to wonder if maybe he might have constructed those houses on the property that his dad owned. It sounded like at some point, his brother must have been gravely injured, but thankfully with the help of his dad he had made a full recovery. While it appeared there was never an opportunity for visits, Adam said they were always together in the way that mattered most, so because that was true, they were never separated.

In college Adam had received training as a lawyer, and with his amazing knack for languages, he had become a very prominent individual working in international relations. He said his dad had taught him from as far back as he could remember that every life was a gift and needed every opportunity to grow and flourish to reach its full God given potential. He was adamant that somewhere deep inside each individual existed a very important and unique gift that needed to be teased out. He felt it was his natural calling to make sure that each individual was afforded that opportunity to find and nurture their very special gift. He would say that some people are born with great wisdom, some with great understanding, some are born to impart guidance, some people were given great courage, some had the ability to absorb vast amounts of information, some could see the holy in things around them, and some people’s gift was just to be filled with wonder and awe. He said when these gifts are found and properly nurtured, they produce things like charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and even chastity. It was always interesting to see people’s response to these things that Adam would share with others. Some of them were amazed at his wisdom and insight while others thought that his views were rather antiquated and idealistic. Adam would say it was true he was an idealist and he believed that those ideals could be attained. It also seemed to amaze people that he would not live uptown in one of those beautiful penthouse apartments that he could have easily afforded. Instead, he chose to live in a rather run-down area of town that once had been filled with mills and factories. His belief was he could not be effective advocating for people if he didn’t live and dwell among them. He said he needed to live where the most common, simple people lived and worked. When he invited colleagues or people to come to his home, they were amazed that this once deserted alley, terminating in an old parking lot was an oasis, a little slice of heaven. Adam’s dwelling had a simple elegance, and that old parking lot where he spent most of his time outdoors, was filled with a garden abundant with life. It was there, once a year, usually in the spring that he invited the wide variety of people he met over the course of the year to gather. He asked them to bring a favorite covered dish to share, to mix and mingle with each other independent of their culture, gender, or language.  As expected, the day abounded with understanding, joy, and peace.

So is the life of this tireless public servant who goes where he is called bringing unity, healing, inspiration, and warmth to the world around him like a soothing summer breeze.

Readings for Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020