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May 20, 2018

The Pastor shocked the congregation when he announced that he was resigning from the parish as the bishop sent him to a smaller community.  After the service a very distraught lady came to the pastor with tears in her eyes, “Oh, Father Murphy, we are going to miss you so much.  We don’t want you to leave.”  The kind-hearted pastor patted her hand and said, “Now, now, Daisy, don’t carry on.  The new priest who takes my place might be even better than me.”

“Yeah,” she said, “That’s what they told me the last time!”

Bishops are the successors of the apostles who received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the first Pentecost.  That is why we trust our Bishop in all his decisions.  Originally Pentecost was a great Jewish feast. The Jews never took any gift from God for granted. They spent quality time thanking God for the first crops of their fields. The holy day was celebrated usually fifty days after the Passover.  We celebrate Pentecost fifty days after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We celebrate not the appearance of new plants, tomatoes, lettuce, corn and beans in our backyard gardens but rather the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the founding members of Christianity. On this day, our ancestors in the faith were confirmed in the Spirit and our young people are to be confirmed this Sunday. Congratulations! The wonderful beauty of that day is that the international Church was born. At the point, Jesus’ followers were without their Leader. Wisely they were running scared. They may have been short on bodies but not brains. They numbered but one hundred forty timid souls - the Apostles, Mary, and unnamed individuals. This was hardly a group equipped to take over the world. Scared to death, they were clinging to each other like flies on fly paper. They were in the large room which had been the scene of the Last Supper.

It was to these timid souls the Holy Spirit came with his wagon load of gifts. They discovered that Christianity was not designed to be a "Do It Yourself" affair. In charismatic language, they were slain in the Spirit. They began to feel like super strong people. They found themselves ready to take on the cosmos. They heard each other speaking in foreign tongues. These languages would be their passports and visas to evangelize in countries over the globe.

Many say, "If the Holy Spirit gave us the same gifts, what a job we'd pull off for Christ! We'd turn our city upside down." Well, the good news is that we received the same abundance of gifts at our Baptism and Confirmation. These were our own personal Pentecosts. The bad news is that we might have never used these gifts. Most of them are buried in our busy life. The Spirit will assist each of us if we allow him. He is, "the master of surprises making the impossible possible." He reminds us it does not require "great people to do great things - just unselfish ones."