Preparing for Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church
by Fr. Peter deSousa
Our home as a domestic Church, is part of the larger Parish and Universal Church . On June 4th, we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, when the Church was born. Many of us may take part in a Novena to prepare for this solemn event in our salvation history. How will this affect our own home and family where we live each day? How can we be renewed by the Holy Spirit, so that all of us as members of the family, may be channels of His presence, love and life to each other?
Mother Mary gathered together with the Believers in prayer, awaiting the gift Jesus' Father promised them. This gift was the Holy Spirit with whom they would be baptized. (Acts1:4; Lk 24:49) Then, they would be able to powerfully witness to Jesus. The Acts of the Apostles tell us of the transformation that took place in these believers, as they allowed the Holy Spirit to guide, inspire and act in and through them.
The Holy Spirit of God never forces himself on us. He respects our freedom to invite him to come upon us. We need to humbly and prayerfully await his coming. All of us have been anointed by the Holy Spirit at our Baptism and confirmation. But we often behave as though there is no Holy Spirit. We rely on our own prayers or pious practices and find we cannot bear witness to Jesus. We seem to only pay lip service to the Gospel. Are we really the disciples of Jesus in the way we live everyday? Do others recognize Jesus in us?
Pentecost is a time of the gift of the Holy Spirit being "fanned into a flame ", "rekindled", "kept alive", so that we may bear witness to the Gospel with the strength that comes from God. It is He who saved us and calls us everyday to be his hands and voice in the home, neighborhood and world in which we live.
The effect of the Pentecost event, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is seen in the first community described in Acts 2:42-47. Let us invite the Holy Spirit to show us how we can make this Pentecost a time of renewal and reawakening of the Spirit in our relationships, hearts, homes and families.
- How are we faithful to the Word of God and the teachings of the Church?
- Is there a common life of sharing in our family? How do we share with those in need?
- How do we recognize Jesus' presence at our table?
- How do we pray together daily as a family and as a couple to praise, thank, petition and listen to what God is saying to us, both through His word and through each other?
- With whom , how and when, do we share with great joy and simplicity of heart?
- How does our coming together to pray and share make us effective witnesses to Jesus, so that others are attracted to join us?
- How can we constantly invite the Holy Spirit, to be our Helper, Teacher of God's Word, Comforter, Advocate, Energizer, Evangelizer, Source of our prayer-life, Unifier?
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