PENTECOST SUNDAY! As the Easter Season comes to an end the
Church celebrates the Glorious feast of Pentecost—the descent of the Holy
Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles.
NOVENA! The coming of the Holy Spirit was preceded
by a Novena. Novena, meaning “nine” were
the nine days that the Apostles, united with the Blessed Virgin Mary, prayed
and fasted. Then there was a powerful
wind and fire. The Holy Spirit descended
upon Mary and the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire.
TRANSFORMATION! During the Public life of Jesus the
Apostles manifested on a constant basis weakness, at times rivalry and
jeaolusy, laziness, and cowardice. We can all identify with the mere humanity
and limitations of the Apostles.
However, despite their human limitations, the Holy Spirit, upon entering
into their lives on Pentecost transformed them.
SIGNS OF TRANSFORMATION. Most clearly do we see this radical
transformation in Simon Peter. Jesus
clearly prophesied the defection of the
Apostles. Despite this sad prophecy,
Simon Peter defended boldly his courage and faithfulness—that he would even be
ready to die for the Lord. We all know Jesus’ prophecy—that Peter indeed would
deny Him three times before the cock crowed. And so it happened! Nonetheless, after the coming of the Holy
Spirit, Peter manifests radical signs of transformation. He takes the leadership role; he preaches
boldly, eloquently, and with a conviction diametrically opposed to the
cowardice he showed a few days before.
And if this were not enough 3,000 were converted and ready to be
baptized after one of his preachings!
POWERFUL SIGNS OF
TRANSFORMATION! As a collective body,
all of the Apostles were transformed by the coming of the Holy Spirit, proven by
their transformation by the way they ended their lives—that of cruel MARTYRDOM!
James was beheaded; Bartholemew(Nathanael) was flayed (meaning skinned alive)
and then eventually beheaded. St. Paul, like John the Baptist would be
decapitated; St Andrew was crucified in the form of an X and hung on the cross
several days where he preached his last and most eloquent of sermons,
converting souls until the end. By the
way “Andrew” means manly or strong; indeed he was due to the coming of the Holy
Spirit. Finally Simon Peter died the way
Jesus did, but with one variation. He was crucified but upside down. Why in this position? For the simple reason, that St. Peter did not
feel worthy to die the same way that Jesus did. So he chose to be crucified
with his head to the dirt!
HOW AND WHY OF THIS
TRANSFORMATION??? How and why did this
radical transformation come about? The
response is clear and to the point—THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT! The Holy Spirit can transform sinners into
great saints, only if the sinner sincerely desires to undergo this
SIMPLE ANALOGY! There is a scene in Superman that I have
often used to manifest the power of the Holy Spirit to make a radical
transformation in our lives. It is this!
CARBON INTO DIAMOND! Superman grabbed a piece of carbon. What are
the characteristics of carbon? Here they
are: black, cold, dirty, resistant, smelly, unattractive, etc. Well, Superman got a hold of that piece of
carbon; we might even call it a piece of coal.
He placed it in the palm of his hand and squeezed it. What happened
appeared to be a miracle! As Superman
squeezed with his super human strength smoke or steam seemed to exude from his
hand. Then the miracle! He opened up his
hand and there was no longer a piece of carbon or coal. Rather, there could be
seen a beautiful and precious diamond. TRANSFORMATION!!!!
SINNERS TO SAINTS. In a certain sense we can be compared to the
carbon/coal piece! We are born as
sinners with Original sin. We all battle to overcome the seven capital sins in
our lives: gluttony, lust, greed, sloth, anger, envy and pride. Like Simon
Peter, we do at times fall into sin and maybe are even tempted to give up and
throw in the towel. GOOD NEWS! The Holy
Spirit can turn us from the hard, dirty,
resistant, sometimes even smelly piece of coal into a sparkling, precious,
SAINT JOHN XXIII. The newly canonized saint, who was raised to
the altar on Mercy Sunday with Saint John Paul II says it all in these few
words, which are for you and for me: “The saints are the spiritual masterpieces of
the Holy Spirit.”
COME HOLY SPIRIT COME! Then what are we waiting for? What is
keeping us back? Why the procrastination, the feet-dragging? Why not today, this hour, this very minute
enter into the depths of your heart and say a fervent prayer to the Person who
can radically transform you from a sinner into a saint! “Come Holy Spirit, come through the
Immaculate Heart of Mary!