Today our Church commemorates Pentecost, the beginning of the mission of the Church in the world. “The Church was made manifest to the world on the day of Pentecost by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit” (Catechism, 1076).
In today’s Gospel (John 15:26-27; 16:12-15), Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “the Advocate”, “the Spirit of truth” whom the Father will send and who will lead the Apostles “to the complete truth”. Jesus tells the apostles: “…you too will be my witnesses, because you have been with me from the outset.”
Through our Baptism, we are also called to be faithful witnesses to Christ. Like the apostles, we too are sent to proclaim the Good News to the world – a world in which there are many challenges today. But, like the apostles, we have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit to assist us in our mission. Our Church has always been a missionary Church.
It is a mistaken view that sees the Spirit as emphasising the inner life and life within the Church, to the exclusion of justice in the world. The history of the early Church shows that it was the impulse of the Holy Spirit that opened up the Church to the larger world and to a ministry that always included a concern for the poor.
The same Spirit is among us, ready to lead and guide us in the particular circumstances of today. It must guide us in the crisis faced by our unemployed male youth, who find themselves at risk of being “drawn into the scourge of the illegal drug trade and gang activity”, as Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar noted in her recent UN address on the state of the world economy.
Pentecost provides an opportune time for us to rededicate ourselves to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us to build God’s Kingdom of justice, peace, truth, love, freedom and forgiveness in our communities.
As we seek to revitalise our Catholic culture and identity, and as we mark the 50th anniversary of this nation’s Independence, we are all called upon to live our faith as witnesses filled with the Spirit. Let us find “new methods and means for transmitting the Good News to people in our world today with a renewed enthusiasm” (Lineamenta for Synod on The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith).
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Amen.