This Sunday we see the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus to send the Holy Spirit upon his Apostles as we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost. These frightened men who abandoned Jesus at his Passion will be transformed by the Holy Spirit into bold witnesses who clearly show that they not only understand the teaching of Jesus but also are willing to put his teaching into practice. They will endure persecution, suffering, ridicule, and other forms of trial as they preach his Good News. They will heed the call of Jesus to go forth and make disciples of all nations.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has invited us to follow the example of the Apostles and truly embrace the Holy Spirit in our lives. As previously mentioned, in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), he stated, “There is no greater freedom than that of allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, renouncing the attempt to plan and control everything to the last detail, and instead of letting him enlighten, guide, and direct us, leading us wherever he wills. The Holy Spirit knows well what is needed in every time and place. This is what it means to be mysteriously fruitful.”
The following “Pentecost Sunday Sequence” prayer, which is obligatory at Masses on Pentecost Sunday, asks for the guidance and support of the Holy Spirit:
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thoughts,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away.
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end.
As we reflect on this prayer, and on these profound words of Pope Francis, and as we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, we continue to deal with the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus, and attacks on the sanctity of life, especially the lives of the unborn. We are therefore encouraged to allow the Holy Spirit to come into our minds, into our lives, and into our hearts as we strive to cope spiritually in these difficult and uncertain times.