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Pentecost, What an adventure!

Pentecost, What and adventure!

JMJ

Life is an adventure! And adventures are good things. Right? Yes, I know what some of you are thinking. You’re already thinking negatively. You’re thinking that life is too often like a mis-adventure. Well, Ok, I’ll grant you, life has its ups and downs.

But let’s be positive today. OK? Its our birthday after all. The birthday of the Church, that is.

So for our purposes, an adventure is …..something exciting, something out of the ordinary, a departure from the humdrum.

Our own personal adventure begins on our birthday. We’re minding our own business, floating around in our hot tub. The temp is a warm 98.6.   The lights are low. All is quiet. We’re lost in our thoughts.

Suddenly things start to swirl. Someone has pulled the plug. We’re going down the drain. Headfirst!

We get stuck. Someone is screaming. A big creature grabs us by the head and starts tugging. We pop out. He holds us up by the feet and hits us. By now we’re screaming too. “Is this a nightmare? Let me go back”.

But then they hand us over to a nice lady who looks at us and says. “Get over it kid. The adventure is just beginning”. And it’s true. We’ve only just begun.

In the course of our lives we will choose many of our own adventures. We may travel to exotic locations, climb mountains, go to Cedar Point, ride motorcycles, go scuba diving, and some will even jump out of airplanes.

But then, on the other hand, many of life’s adventures will choose us. And while the self-chosen ones can be very interesting, and exciting, it’s the other ones, the ones that are somehow chosen for us, that are the real, true adventures.

I’m talking about meeting that special someone, or finding yourself in that job you never thought you would do, like maybe getting drafted into military service, or into the priesthood, being there for the birth of your own children, getting acquainted with them and watching them grow into unique individuals.

And as the adventure unfolds we might find ourselves agreeing with Forrest Gump who once said that life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.

Now today we partake of the great adventure of the Church which celebrated its first birthday on that Pentecost Sunday almost 2000 years ago. 40 days after the Resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven. But the disciples were told that they must return to Jerusalem, and wait.

The wait proved to be about 9 days. Maybe something like that 9 months of gestation in our mother’s womb.

It was appropriate then that Mary would be there on the big day. Mother to the apostles, mother to the new priesthood, and mother to the new Universal Church.

(that’s her in the picture at the center. )

And so the adventure began. And the Church has had its ups and downs all these years. Adventures and mis-adventures, just like any of us as individuals.

Ups and downs, ins and outs, highs and lows, and a lot of dry, arid time, in between.

But were still here. Many worldly institutions have come and gone but the promise of Jesus is still intact. He said that the gates of hell would not prevail against The Church. We have indeed spread to every corner of the world.

I had to be persuaded to enter into the adventure of the priesthood. I puzzled and resisted and hoped and prayed that it was some kind of cosmic mistake. It wasn’t . The call was so clear that I had to admit that it was genuine, and be convinced that I was called to participate in a great adventure. And part of that is that is I share in your adventures as well.

As your pastor, I am there at the beginnings of lives, and at their end, and many places along the way. Confessions, first communions, confirmations, illnesses, building schools, remodeling Activity Centers. And I anticipate many more adventures along the way.

Part of the adventure of all of us who are baptized Catholics is to allow ourselves to be pulled along from glory to glory in our faith lives. There is progress to be made in the spiritual life, that is, if we agree to it, if we overcome our lack of faith, or lukewarmness, and if we are cooperative, and are unafraid.

Therefore it’s appropriate that we do something special this day to celebrate our Birthday and our patronal feastday. I trust you’ve been faithful to the Holy Spirit Novena this past week.

But we’ve also decorated the church in the traditional fire red of the day, representative of the flames that descended upon the disciples on the first Pentecost.

We’re singing special hymns today.

We have lit all the candles, and did you happen to notice that banner in the hallway? ( How could you miss it?) We found that in the sacristy. It hasn’t seen the light of day in many years.

We are using incense at all the masses this weekend as an added measure of our devotion. As the Psalm says, “Let our prayers rise like incense before you.” (Ps141)

We are doing a special prayer called The Sequence asking God for a birthday gift. Any of the gifts of the Sprit would do. What are they? They are on that banner out in the hallway. Piety, Wisdom, counsel, Fortitude (or Courage), Knowledge, Understanding, Fear of the Lord.

But any of these are the things that can change the direction of a person’s life. Making them an Intentional Disciple, that is, someone who can’t get enough of God, and who wants to serve him more and more, and serve their neighbor as well.

After the end of our mass we are going to transition into a period of adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. This is the source and summit of our faith, that Christ has become our food. Through the action of the priest, the Holy Spirit is called down upon simple bread and wine and become the Body and Blood of Jesus.

It is consumed as spiritual food, Holy Communion, the Eucharist. But is also to be recognized and adored as His Real Presence. I will put a single host into a monstrance and I will process around the church blessing you,,,, with Jesus. You see Him face-to-face, as it were.

You recall that a few weeks ago that young people from our Youth Group went to a special gathering at the St. Catherine of Sienna Academy in Wixom. During the benediction when the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, Jesus gave the gift of the spirit to some of those kids. They were touched in special ways. Maybe in ways that they really needed. One young lady, an 8th grader from our school, was there on her Confirmation retreat.

She was known for her painful shyness and was apparently given the gift of fortitude or courage, because she went forward to give her testimony publicly in front of 400 of her peers. Quite an accomplishment. We were all amazed.

And in addition she agreed to write up her story for our bulletin. She has also sent her story to Faith Magazine with hopes that they will publish it as well.

Ive approached he to see if she would give her testimony on video tape for potentially all the world to see. This is all very remarkable stuff. It’s exciting, and it’s become a part of her great spiritual adventure, and we have been blessed to share in it.

So please stay at the end for a few more minutes to honor God, to celebrate the Birthday of His Church, to adore Jesus, but also to ask for some gifts, and to continue with the adventure of your faith.

And, may God continue the good work he has begun in all of us.

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