04 June 2022 – Pentecost (At the Vigil Mass | Pentecost Novena Day 9, Rosary to the Holy Spirit & Mass) (Year C)

by Fr Joachim Robert

Joel 3:1-5
Responsorial Psalm 103:1-2,24,27-30,35
Romans 8:22-27
John 7:37-39

Theme: Holy Spirit, help our unbelief

Dear friends,

It is exciting to see so many of you coming back to church, especially during this Feast of Pentecost. In one way, this returning or this restoration of how we used to worship before gives each one of us a delight in our hearts. And we must remember that the grace that God has given to each and every one of us, inviting us to restore our hope in Him, inviting us to love once again.

And as you know, this whole celebration of this Pentecost journey that we have taken of RESTORE, HOPE, CARE and PRAYER, is an invitation for us to re-enkindle in our lives where the Holy Spirit is drawing us and leading us forward.

And today’s theme that we have chosen for ourself is HOLY SPIRIT, HELP OUR UNBELIEF.

And as we look at our journey of the past two years, dear friends, a journey where the two years where we were unable to come and celebrate as a community because of the pandemic make us realise so many different aspects of our lives and our community. In one way, as the Second Reading of today reminds us, from the beginning till now the entire creation as we know has been groaning in one great act of giving birth. And not only creation, For all of us who possess the first fruit of the Spirit, we too moan inwardly as we await for the bodice to be set free.

Even though we know the pandemic is not over yet but we know that the two years that we have journeyed together as a community makes us realise the importance of community, the importance of family, how important our relationship with God is. And the Holy Spirit continually invites us, stir in our hearts to acknowledge where we are in that relationship and how the light of Christ continue to shine and glow in our lives so that we are able to bear witness, even in situations that we find difficult.

And as we look at that journey, that journey of hardship, a journey that challenges us, experiences that continues to drive us away from God, where relationship suffers, emotions are numbed and our hearts are hardened. And I am sure each one of us have our own share in those experiences of life. But in today’s First Reading from the Prophet Joel, we are reminded:-

Thus, says the Lord,
“I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind.
Your sons and daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams
and your young men will see visions.
Even on the slaves, men and women,
will I pour out my spirit on those days.
I will display portents in heavens and on earth,
blood and fire, and columns of smoke.”

It gives us a grand vision of what our future and our hope is with God. And if we carefully look at the text, dear friends, you have sons and daughters, old men, young people, all of them in the context of a community, the context of family.

And as we look at our own journey moving forward as a community, we come to realise the connection between family and community. Because family and community, dear friends, is an essential part of how we are called to exist as one people. And the church is formed to those who believe in Jesus and become the source where we come together because we are united in Christ. And Christ entered our human race, Christ entered our human family and formed a community. And a community who wishes to acknowledge the Good News of the Father’s love for them.

And you and I, dear friends, come into this community to experience the love that the Father has for us. And sometimes we do not believe that the Lord loves us. We do not believe that the Father has lavished His love upon us and the Cross, the symbol of God’s victory and love are taken lightly.

And as we love God, we are called to love our brothers and sisters. And that is why, dear friends, we pray that the Holy Spirit may continue to help our unbelief because if we choose not to believe in God, we choose not to believe in our families, we choose not to believe in our communities, then we are not centered on what Christ has done for us.

And the love that the Father has for us makes us realise that our families are places of encounter. Our families are places where we come to know, develop, nurture ourselves so that Christ can re-enkindle the Holy Spirit and help our unbelief so that we can grow into one community of faith.

But as we look at our community, I would just like to focus on four areas where we are called to look at ourselves:-

The first thing is, dear friends, we need to remember that we need to restore our unbelief in reconciliation. We need to remember that whenever we have dispute within our families, within our communities, we must remember that there is hope in reconciliation. Yes, we argue. Yes, we have disagreement. But that can be put aside because our focus need to be Christ-centered. If our focus is on Christ-centeredness, then we will be able to overcome whatever situations, whatever circumstances that come along the way.

Because sometimes the reality of our human life is we choose to force. Force in those experiences that leads us away from God, that leads us away from one another and leads us away from family. But even though we choose to run away and choose to be lost, like the prodigal son who ran away from his house, ran away from the father, the Lord continues to shower His love upon him in order to lead him back and have hope in the restoration of relationship, restoration of family relationship with one another. If we are in that situation, let us not give into pessimism but give reconciliation and give relationship a hope because God has gifted us with the grace of a family to be in.

And the second thing that we need to be reminded, dear friends, is this aspect of forgiveness. Very often we find difficult to forgive one another because of what someone has said, someone has done, because of what the hurt we have experienced because it is painful. But the Lord is inviting us, the Holy Spirit is inviting us to allow His grace to be at work in your life so that we can allow forgiveness to take place. All that we need to do, dear friends, is to have a repentant heart, a heart that relies on the grace of God, a heart that continues to put God first and to allow the grace to work in and through our lives so that we are able to forgive one another.

Yes, we may have hurt one another. Yes, we may have hurt and those experiences may have been painful. But the Lord is asking us to put our burdens on Him and allow the precious blood of Christ to transform the painful moments into moments of grace. Because it is in those moments, dear friends, the Lord continues to help our unbelief, to put our faith and trust in His mercy and love for us.

And the third thing that we need to be reminded to ask the Lord to help our unbelief is the area of healing. We need to remember as well that whenever we are stricken with illness, we continue to question God, to ask where is God in all the situations of our lives. Why does this need to happen to me? Why does this need to happen to my community? Why does this need to happen to my family? And when we are in situations like that, dear friends, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to help our unbelief, to restore our trust and our faith in God once again.

Because that process of healing will take place if we allow the Holy Spirit to be in charge of our lives. Yes, some of us are healed. Some of us wait to be healed. But the Lord not only gives us physical healing. The Lord heals us spiritually as well, where we are liberated from our former ways of our bondage, we are liberated in the sight of God.

And the last thing we need to ask the Holy Spirit to help our unbelief is this aspect of loving again. This aspect where we lose confidence in one another. Where we choose to ignore one another because we are numb to people around us because of what has happened. But if we focus our attention on God once again, dear friends, and the mystery of the Cross in our lives, we know the Lord was able to endure everything that we have endured. Everything that we have experienced, the Lord has experienced and the Lord enters into those experiences of life and calls us to love again.

And we must remind ourselves, dear friends, that the Lord is constantly, and is ever faithful even though people neglect us, even though people are not able to forgive, to heal or to have broken relationships. The Lord continues to ask us, or invites us, and He gives us the grace of the Holy Spirit to help us in our love for one another. Because if we love God, dear friends, we must show that love that we have for one another with the people around us.

And the fruit of a good family, the fruit of a good community comes in the realisation of how we love Jesus. Because we cannot do this all on our own. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to help us to love again so that the Lord may be able to bind us in love, the Lord may be able to allow the Holy Spirit to be at work and build a community of faith and love.

Yes, dear friends, we are broken people. We are people who need healing, who need to restore our relationship. We are people who need to forgive. We are people who need healing. But let us pray, let us pray that the Lord may continue to allow that hope to be restored in our lives. That the hope that He gives through His Son, Jesus Christ, by the way we care for one another, by the way we pray for one another, because the Lord invites us to put our faith and trust in Him.

And each time whenever we go down on our knees to pray, we pray that the Holy Spirit may continue to restore our hope in Him once again.

Last week, I mentioned how do we communicate and how do we hear the word of God. Can you remember? Yes? No? All right. If the Lord is inviting you to hear, so let us hear with our ears. And if you are unable to hear, let us listen again with our ear. And if you are still not able to listen, let us ask the Holy Spirit to listen with our heart. Shall we?

So let us ask the Holy Spirit to re-enkindle in our lives this aspect of listening. So let us listen, let us listen and let us listen with the heart but today, we listen with the heart and with the Holy Spirit guiding us to lead us to the truth that comes from God and comes from Him alone.

Click below to listen to the homily and watch the video:-

Click to live-stream Mass on 04 June 2022