Saturday, May 26, 2012

We know what to do (Pentecost homily)

I’m sure many of you have had this experience: 
you get a nice gift from someone—you are grateful—
but you scratch your head…you aren’t sure what to do with it.

No doubt you’ve got these things 
in closets and drawers at home! We all do.

The question I’d like to pose is: 
do we treat the gift of the Holy Spirit that way?

In all honesty, I think we do. I include myself in that.

Why do I say that?

On the first Pentecost—counting the apostles, 
the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, 
the other women who helped the Lord, 
and other disciples who probably where there…
the book of Acts says 120 people in total.

One hundred and twenty people. 
If they hadn’t used the Gift of the Holy Spirit, 
the Faith would never have spread. 
It would have died. It all depended on that small group.

This weekend, ten times that number will come to Mass just in Piqua. 
Throughout the Archdiocese, we have over a quarter-million Catholics. 
We have millions in Ohio. We have 60-70 million in our country. 
And that’s just Catholics, 
not counting the many more Christians of other traditions.

So, yes, I think we have reason to wonder whether we—today—
are making full use of the gifts of the Spirit.

Now, let us consider this. 
God put us in this time, and in this place, to use our gifts.

If your boss puts you in a room 
with four walls and a can of paint and a brush—
it’s not that hard to figure out what you are supposed to do.

We know that our culture is turning against the Gospel. 
It’s happening before our very eyes. 
And yet we have, in our hands and in our hearts, 
the gifts of the Holy Spirit—the power of God—
the power to transform the world.

Do you believe the Holy Spirit comes down upon bread and wine, 
and changes them into the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ? 
I know that you do!

So why do we doubt that if the Priestly People of God—
2 billion through the world—
lift up this world like a communion host…
the Holy Spirit will not come down upon us?

Now, let me apply this more concretely—
and share with you what our bishops are saying 
to us in this time and place.

As you know, not only is our culture turning against the Gospel—
our government is doing so.

Our government is planning to force us 
to promote things contrary to the Catholic Faith, 
through our health care programs. 
If the President’s order regarding contraception is not overturned, 
we will either have to act contrary to our teachings, 
or else defy the law, or else lose our universities, charities, our hospitals 
and maybe even our parish schools.

Now, I know some people are still denying this.

I had someone say to me, he wasn’t concerned about this—
he just wanted to pray for our “good sisters.”

Do you realize the law says everyone must buy health insurance—
and now the law says, your health insurance must include 
contraception, sterilization and drugs that sometimes cause abortions?

While employees of churches will be exempt, 
all the rest of us are still under this order. 
And only some of our religious brothers and sisters 
work for exempt organizations. 
Just like you, many of our religious brothers and sisters 
are required to pay for health insurance that violates their religious vows.

Our bishops, acting together, have asked every Catholic in America 
to pull together as one in prayer and fasting and action.

In about 4 weeks, across the nation, 
we will have a “Fortnight for Freedom”—from June 21 to July 4. 
Next week, in the bulletin, and at Mass, 
we’ll have more information about this.

In just two weeks, we’ll have our annual 
Corpus Christi 40 Hours at St. Mary, 
followed by our procession with the Holy Eucharist 
through the city of Piqua, to St. Boniface. 
There could not be a better time to lift up Jesus 
and say, he is our king.

My question today is simple: 
as the bishops call us to pray, and fast, and sacrifice during this time, 
what will you—what will each one of us—do to take part?

I am asking everyone, 
from our young children to our older folks, to take part. 
We can’t all do the same things, 
but we can all—each of us—do something.

Those first 120 believers, in one room in Jerusalem, 
were of one heart and mind, 
praying for God to send down the Holy Spirit.

Can we—all of here, all of us in Piqua, all of us in America—
put aside any other agendas and issues, and do the same?