Homily for Pentecost Novena
By Fr. Robert J. Carr
©Catholic Online 2005
Inauguration homily for the Pentecost Novena
(This homily was delivered in Spanish on Friday May 6, 2005)
I was at an Archdiocesan priests' meeting the other day. As I was waiting for it to begin, I organized the notes on my Palm Pilot. I found one that I wrote last year As you have used them to show us your holiness, you us to show them your glory. Sirach 36:3
This is what brings us here today. We are beginning a nine day novena calling for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our Church and our Archdiocese. The catalyst for this action is two things. First, Cardinal Law called for a similar novena in 2002 and the response to that is something called the Pentecost Miracle. Where we experienced a powerful manifestation of the Spirit during the then 9:00 AM Pentecost Sunday mass in 2002. This became a source of encouragement for many of us as the protests and harassment against all parishioners continued. Further, the entire community Anglo and Hispanic, Rich and Poor, Black and White, Brown and Yellow testified to their faith in Christ by simply attending mass despite having to endure as many as 500 protesters OUTSIDE the church.
The second is that the Rainbow Sash Movement has called for a protest in Catholic Churches across the country demanding the Church change her teaching to be pro-gay. This is despite the fact that such protests are illegal.
THROUGH THE INTERCESSION OF ARCHBISHOP OSCAR ROMERO . . .
I was thinking the other day about an event that happened several years ago. A Salvadoran, communist drifter came to me looking for money. I asked him if he knew Archbishop Oscar Romero and he said, yes and that the prelate was a great revolutionary. After a few minutes of talking with the man, I walked across the street to the church where Salvadorans were in the midst of a prayer meeting. I asked if I should give the man any money. I told them how he described Oscar Romero.
"Oh no Father, Oscar Romero was not a revolutionary." They told me the word that did accurately describe him, then said "Do not give him any money."
I was thinking of that story in light of some of the words of Archbishop Romero. One of the things he said was that if he was killed he would rise in the Salvadoran people. Here I am in this Church preaching to exactly those people. We are here asking for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We cannot fight the current attacks on us as would another organization and we will not be protected by the government (at least on the state or federal level.) What can we do? We use the situation exactly as that verse from Sirach teaches. We pray that now God has shown us His morality, he uses us to show them His glory.
TOO MANY U.S. CATHOLICS ARE JUST PLAIN LOST
We are here to call upon the power of the Holy Spirit to glorify His Name in our Church. Why? because in this country many of the Catholics are lost.
A friend pointed out to me recently that Voice of the Faithful has as its target group the middle ground Catholic. When I heard this I was surprised. She pointed out it is on their website. Sure enough it is. They seek the middle ground mediocre Catholic. Yet, it is just this person who is lost already. Look at what Jesus says about the mediocre Catholic:
"I know your deeds, I know that you are neither hot nor cold! How I wish you were one or the other--Hot or Cold! But because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I spew you out of my mouth."
"You keep saying, 'I am so rich and secure I want for nothing.' Little do you realize how wretched you are, how pitiable and poor, how blind and naked. Buy from me gold refined from fire if you would be truly rich. Buy white garments in which to be clothed. If the shame of your nakedness is to be covered. Buy ointment to smear on your eyes if you would see once more. Whoever is dear to me I reprove and chastise. Be earnest about it, therefore, Repent!"( Rev. 3:15ff)
Unfortunately, this describes well many Catholics in this country.
Too many are more concerned with the gay rights than their opportunity for salvation in Jesus.
They are more concerned with women's ordination than their opportunity for salvation in Jesus.
They are more concerned about getting degrees from prestigious universities than their opportunity for salvation in Jesus.
They are more concerned with the fruits of consumerism, a consumerism that is bringing a moral collapse to this country than their opportunity for salvation in Jesus.
They are lost. Many in the English speaking Catholic community in this country are just plain lost. I cannot describe it in any other terms. The question is why should we care? The answer is simple. We are all one body in Christ. It does not matter that we are talking about one limb of that body, what does matter is that this limb is filled with infection, it is gangrenous, it is festering and rotting away and it is about to be amputated from the whole body. The infection has spread so deeply and so strongly that there is only one choice, cut off the limb to save the body. Yet, we are here asking that God be Glorified by the Holy Spirit and we ask that this happen by calling for a healing of that limb.
So we begin this novena praying that the Glory of God may heal this limb.
A SPECIAL PARISH CHOSEN TO DO GOD'S WORK
Within the parish boundaries there is a library. Yet, one hundred years ago, where that library stands, stood a convent. Anti-Catholic forces burned down the convent and one nun died, not by the fire but by a heart attack a few days later due to the stress of the whole affair. Therefore, considering that history, it is fitting that we all pray for this outpouring of the Holy Spirit in this parish at this time.
Our world needs to know just as we did at the Cathedral that the Holy Spirit is alive. That Christ lives and that God is all-powerful. Yet, we pray not for fire and brimstone upon our enemies but that God's glory come upon them that they may know what we know that Jesus is our king and he is king over all.
So let us pray these nine days, please go to confession during this time and if possible go to mass daily. Pray the Rosary that God's glory may fall upon his people, that all may know the power of the Holy Spirit not only in Boston, but also throughout the world.
Novena Prayer: Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit upon our Church on Pentecost Sunday. Let your glory shine on that day, that all may see your power and might. Lead our enemies to know your truth, our persecutors to find your light. Lead us to be strong in the Lord and to be filled with your Holy Spirit on that day and forward. Show us that darkness in our midst cast it out from among us. Strengthen us that we may always be your light to a world in Darkness. We ask this through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
http://www.catholicismanew.org MA, US
Fr. Robert J. Carr - parochial vicar, 617 625-0029
Pentecost, Anti-Catholicism, Oscar Romero, El Salvador, US Church
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