Pentecost is the last great feast in the Easter cycle of feasts: Easter, Ascension and Pentecost. I have heard about parishes that bake a special cake and walk around the church singing Happy Birthday to the Church. Obviously this is something we would never do at St. Mary’s, not only because it is a sentimental act having no grounding in the Tradition, but also because Pentecost is not the birthday of the Church. The founder of the Church is Jesus Christ. He is her head and we are part of his Body, as the extension of the Incarnation in the world. But in a sense the Church has existed in the mind of God from the very beginning. The Church was prefigured by the Chosen People of the Old Testament. The reality of that prefigurement is the person of Jesus Christ and all whom He has called out of darkness into light.
What happened on Pentecost was the empowerment of the nascent Church by the Holy Spirit to be fully what the Church is and must be: the witness to the Truth of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of the world. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church that makes the Church one, holy, Catholic and apostolic. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church that makes possible the missionary effort of the Church. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church that makes possible the Real Presence of Christ, with all of His saving grace, in each of the seven Sacraments. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church that is the guarantee of the presence of the Truth in the teaching of the Church, this despite the hostility of the world, this despite those in the Church who have, are, and will deny that Truth so that they can make the Truth more palatable to the non-believing world.
May this great parish of Saint Mary’s be a place where the Truth is taught, believed and celebrated by each of us who come here to worship Almighty God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Father Richard Gennaro Cipolla