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Fr. Frank Pavone: Pentecost Sunday: A Feast of Life

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When the Spirit came upon them, they broke their silence. They were compelled. They were aflame. They were emboldened. They were set free.

Our pro-life ministry needs to be public and powerful. It needs to come out of hiding. It needs to advocate. If you are a confirmed Catholic you have been given every spirit blessing to equip you to this calling. It is a universal calling- no Christian is exempt. If you have been asleep, now is the time to rise. Christ was raised form the dead, therefore we, too, have been raised from the dead in our baptism. This resurrection does not just mean we are no longer slaves to sin, but it means that we live. What the Lord said to the dead girl to raise her up, he says also to us: Talitha Koum! Living is not just having breath in your nostrils. It means having the breath of God in your soul  - the flaming, roaring power of the Spirit. May you have a blessed, life-filled Pentecost!

Fr Frank Pavone

Fr Frank Pavone

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (Catholic Online) - The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name - he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. --  Jesus, (John 14:26-27)

Pentecost was first a Jewish feast celebrating the harvest and the giving of the law to Moses on Mt Sinai fifty days after Passover. Pentecost is Greek for fiftieth day. For Christians, it is a celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit to his church fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ.

The law that was given to Moses was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. What the Jews could not accomplish in their own strength was accomplished through Jesus Christ that, through His power -- the power of the Holy Spirit -- we would have the grace to abide in Gods law.

For nine days leading up to Pentecost, the apostles had been gathered in fear and silence behind closed doors. Then, a rush of wind roared through the upper room and the flames of the Spirit settled over them. This was and is no meek Spirit. It roars like a lion and consumes with fire.

When the Spirit came upon them, they broke their silence. They were compelled. They were aflame. They were emboldened. They were set free.

They left their hiding places and proclaimed the gospel in loud voices and in many languages so that they were understood by many. This ability to speak in ways so that they were understood by many speaks of the universality of the gospel and those called to spread it.  Nobody is excluded.

The boldness that the Spirit brings is needed to confront the many challenges to Christians today, particularly the culture of death. Many of us pro life Christians walk around in fear of our enemies. We fear not having the courage or the words to defend the unborn, or to face the rejection that comes when we do.

But we dont have to fear. We are not expected to rely on our own strength.  The same Spirit that emancipated the apostles from fear, gives us the same freedom. We have been called to come out of hiding. The gifts of our baptism and confirmation have empowered us to proclaim the gospel. We are already equipped!

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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. Ephesians 1:3

The words promise us every spiritual gift. In other words, we lack nothing. Moses was afraid to talk to pharaoh but God promised He would give him the words. And when Moses was still afraid, God sent him Aaron. 

In the gospels, Jesus reminds the apostles that it is not they who are speaking but the Spirit of the Father through them. And, in the case of Pentecost, not only did He give them the words, but the language in which to speak them.

However, not everybody will understand. Just like the apostles were accused of being drunk or crazy, we will be accused of being crazy, or foolish, or stupid. Jesus, Himself, was not always understood. This did not deter Him or the apostles.

Peter preached all the louder, converting hearts for Christ and baptizing many that day. We cannot let the haters deter us from our important work, because those who need to be saved -- from both physical and spiritual death -- are many.

To save us, the Holy Spirit acts as an advocate. The word advocate means to publicly support. The Spirit speaks up for us in the heavens, and when he comes to us, he compels us to be public advocates in the world to those who cannot advocate for themselves -- particularly the most defenseless, the children in the womb.

As Pope Francis has declared, Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. (Evangelii Gaudium, November, 2013).

Our pro-life ministry needs to be public and powerful. It needs to come out of hiding. It needs to advocate. If you are a confirmed Catholic you have been given every spirit blessing to equip you to this calling. It is a universal calling- no Christian is exempt.

If you have been asleep, now is the time to rise. Christ was raised form the dead, therefore we, too, have been raised from the dead in our baptism. This resurrection doesnt just mean we are no longer slaves to sin, but it means that we live.

What the Lord said to the dead girl to raise her up, he says also to us: Talitha Koum! Living is not just having breath in your nostrils. It means having the breath of God in your soul - the flaming, roaring power of the Spirit. May you have a blessed, life-filled Pentecost!

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Fr Frank Pavone is the National Director of Priests for Life. Priests for Life is the world's largest Catholic organization focused exclusively on ending abortion.

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