Pentecost Homily

The feast of Pentecost holds a special place in my heart because I presided at my first Mass on Pentecost Sunday. This year is the fifth anniversary of my ordination, so, for kicks, I dug up my homily from that Mass and thought I’d repost it here. A lot has happened since that day, yet in some ways it still feels like yesterday…

Pentecost Sunday 2017, Marquette University chapel

I’ll begin with homework.  Today’s first reading from Acts 2 tells the story of Pentecost, but it’s just the beginning of the story of Pentecost.  So on your i-Phones on the drive home, pull up Acts of the Apostles and read all of chapter 2.  (Unless you’re driving.)  

Now, since in my 22 years of formal education I have noted that occasionally students don’t do their homework, I will go ahead and tell you what happens in Acts 2.  The part we heard this morning takes place after Jesus had risen from the dead, appeared to his disciples for 40 days, and then ascended into heaven.  One thing I don’t think we realize when we talk about Easter is how disoriented the disciples were even after Jesus rose from the dead.  The Resurrection doesn’t immediately bring understanding to the disciples.  If you read all of John 20, the chapter from which today’s Gospel is taken (extra credit), you’ll note that even after the Resurrection there’s still disbelief, confusion, and fear.  Mary Magdalene meets Jesus but mistakes him for a gardener.  Then, when she realizes who it is, she won’t let go of him—to the point that Jesus has to tell her, “Stop holding on to me.”  After the horror of the crucifixion, we can understand why the disciples would be fearful and why Mary Magdalene wouldn’t want to let Jesus go.  But Jesus says he has to go to do something necessary for the disciples.  He promises that when he has ascended to the Father, he, with the Father, will send the Holy Spirit to the disciples.  

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