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 transformation!

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, beautiful diamond.

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!