“Let the Word go forth.” And it did. The Word went forth from Jerusalem into the hill country of Judea and beyond. Let the Word go forth – across the blue waters of the Mediterranean, to Greece and Rome, to Africa and Spain. What began with a few frightened people in a darkened room in Jerusalem has spilled out and touched every corner of the globe. You’ll find the Word preached in every language – just as on that very first Pentecost – and understood in billions of hearts. And it all began on this day we celebrate, Pentecost: the birthday of the church.
We need, especially now, to keep the Word going – to remind ourselves of the rugged beginnings of this rugged faith and to carry it on, just as the first believers did. It is a daunting prospect. But we do not undertake it alone. We have the Holy Spirit. We have the Spirit to uplift us when we are struggling, to strengthen us when we are weak, to console us when we are grieving, to comfort us when we are frightened. Yes, it a daunting prospect. But we do not do this alone. As we heard in John’s gospel: “The Spirit of truth… will guide you to all truth.” The Holy Spirit is our guide. Paul’s letter to the Galatians calls us to “live in the Spirit.”
We do it every time we whisper a prayer for peace. We do it when we volunteer in the Josephinum, or give to the Women’s Wellness Center, or donate through Rice Bowl to needs overseas. We do it when we support the work being done in this parish. We do it when we hold the hand of someone who is hurting, bring comfort to someone who is lonely, or restore faith to someone who has lost it. We do it every time we choose to spend our Sundays praising God. We do it when we strive to love, to give, and to hope. We keep the flame of Pentecost burning when our greatest ambition is simply to be like Christ.
It’s up to each of us. This Pentecost, let’s ask the Spirit to touch all of our hearts, as the Spirit touched the hearts of the disciples on the first Pentecost. This Pentecost, go ahead. Let the Word go forth. Prepare to set the world ablaze.
Paul A. Magnano, Pastor