Pentecost

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Pentecost 1993, Chapel of the Holy Spirit, Berkeley, CA. On this Sunday 25 years ago, I was blessed to hear a brilliant homily on the meaning of Pentecost, off-beat but very creative and evocative. Sorry, I do not recall the name of the homilist, but I do recall his words.

He began by saying he was a convert to Catholicism from the Baptist faith of his youth. He also mentioned that now, his faith is Catholic but his religion is the opera. He loves the opera. He said in this religion of the opera, there are levels of beings just as there are in Catholicism levels of blessed, saints, martyrs, choirs of angels, archangels and then finally, at the pinnacle, God the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

In opera, there are at the lowest levels the very talented singers and actors who perform their roles professionally and well. However, the audience is aware that they are acting, singing, and playing roles.

Just above them at the next level are the great opera stars such as Luciano Pavarotti, Jessie Norman, Beverly Sills, Vittorio Grigolo, etc. They are so talented and such good singers and actors that they make the audience forget that they are acting and performing. They are that magnificent!

Finally, he said, at the pinnacle, the apex, of this religion, is the goddess, the divinity of opera: she is none other than Maria Callas, singing at La Scala in Milan, the most heavenly performance of all.

Not only does she make you forget that she is acting or performing, she pulls you into the inner world of her heavenly universe and makes you forget everything else and fills you with the sweetness, joy and marvels of this Kingdom. You are transported to another dimensions and forever transformed by her.

What the Holy Spirit does to us at Pentecost is similar to what Maria Callas does in opera, but a thousand times more wonderful than what this goddess does. The Holy Spirit comes to us and pulls us into the very heart and presence of the Living God, fills us with love for God and our neighbor and gives us all the strength and grace we need to live the life of a joyful missionary disciple of the Lord. The Spirit creates of us one immense family on fire with love for truth, for God, for each other for all eternity. The Spirit says: “Be not afraid! Be courageous and bold! Spread the Good News to the ends of the world.”

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.

-Father Willy Raymond, C.S.C. {Just back from Peru and Chile}

Each weekday, the homily from Daily Mass at Holy Cross Family Ministries is shared online. Visit Family Rosary: World at Prayer and sign up to receive notifications of each day’s homily.


Copyright 2018 Fr. Willy Raymond, C.S.C.

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Fr. Willy Raymond, CSC, is a Catholic Priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross and President of Holy Cross Family Ministries.

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