Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Monday, June 16, 2014

Homily - Pentecost - June 8, 2014

Acts 2:1-11; Jn. 14:23-31

Today is Pentecost, the end of the Easter Season and the birthday of the Church.  Our Lord, in His earthly ministry called forth all the components of the Church, and at Pentecost, with the gift of the Holy Ghost, it becomes a living reality.

In 1987, Pope St. John Paul II made his pastoral visit to Los Angeles.  At His Mass at Dodger Stadium, he described catholicity as a unity which respects diversity.  We see this from the very first moments of the life of the Church in our Epistle.  The Holy Ghost descends upon the apostles, and they begin to speak in different languages, so that all who hear them, from the four corners of earth, hear them speaking in their own tongue, of the marvels God has done in the cross and resurrection of Christ.  It signifies the universality of the Church.  The Church is for all people.  It is capable of entering into every culture and nation.

All we need to do to see this is to look around historically at, for example, the great Churches of Europe:  all the saints, the charisms for education and healing, schools and hospitals, missionaries, the great cathedrals.  The Church counts in centuries.  This is just the first growth of Christianity, and an example of what can happen when people of faith put their minds and hearts to the mission of Christ.

Pope Paul VI said that when the Gospel encounters a culture, a great drama occurs, where a sorting out takes place.  What is compatible with the Gospel is retained, what is incompatible is rejected.  We are doing something like this.  Some may look at our society and say we are post-Christian, we have passed Christianity by.  History would bear out that we are pre-Christian, as we forward the mission of Christ in our day.

The Church is comprised of great diversity.  There are 22 distinct rites in the Catholic Church.  The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the only archdiocese in the world in which all are represented.  Each one is a treasure.  The Syrian Rite, at Jesus Sacred Heart in North Hollywood celebrates Mass in Aramaic.  This is the language Jesus spoke.  We belong to the Roman Rite, of which there are two forms, the Ordinary Form, or the Vatican II Mass, and the Extraordinary Form, which we are celebrating.  The Extraordinary Form emphasizes the sacrifice of Christ, and preserves Gregorian Chant, which was invented by the Church for the purpose of celebrating Mass, more than 1500 years ago.  This is the Mass of the ages, the Mass which the saints heard.

St. Paul will speak of the diversity of gifts which the Spirit gives, while we are all one body.

If the Epistle speaks of diversity, the Gospel speaks of our unity.  The Lord says, “We will make our abode with him.”  We share the divine life.  The Holy Ghost is the bond of love between the Father and the Son.  Jesus shares this with us.  He says, “If you love me, keep my word.”  It sounds strange to us, as if to say, “If you love me, do what I say.”  But it is nothing like that.  It is this:  we do not always know how to love, and so Jesus teaches us, by the Word of Scripture and by the teachings of the Church, guaranteed by the charism of Peter and his successors and the bishops.  He teaches us what it means to love.  It is not the way of the world.  Jesus says in another place, “Enter through the narrow way.”  The way of the world is the wide way, people do what they want, believe what they want, they make up their own faith.  All you need to do is to read the newspaper any day to see how this wide way gets narrower and narrower and narrower, until it backs people into all their corners with great troubles.  We enter through the narrow way, the way of Jesus, and it is a way that becomes wider and wider and wider, opening us up to all the graces, blessings, gifts, and happiness which God wants to give us.  We all share the one life and love of God, in which we are one.

This is the peace which Jesus gives us, founded on the life and love of God.  It is His gift.  We cannot grasp it of ourselves, or buy it, or obtain it in any other way.  It is given to those who are willing to receive it.  And not as the world gives it.  The world seeks its security and confidence in goods.  The more I have, the more secure I will be.  No one here believes that.  We need goods, but they cannot bring us peace, they cannot bring us happiness.  It is the life and of God which brings us happiness and peace.  In Psalm 1, the Psalmist says of the just man, “Like a tree planted near running waters whose leaves ever fade.”  You can imagine King David, the shepherd, shepherding his flocks in the desert where everything is hot and dry.  And he sees a thriving tree, green and supple, and he looks and sees, that it is planted near a river.  It has a constant supply of life-giving water and moisture to keep it living, green, and bearing fruit.  So we are, sharing the life and love of God, He gives us life and life to the full.  We share His peace.

We come to the end of the Easter Season.  We began Lent by encountering the mercy and reconciliation of God.  We have celebrated Easter and the love of God giving the gift of Himself in the cross and resurrection of the Lord.  And now we celebrate Pentecost, the beginning of the Church, and we recall the remarkable gifts which God has given to all in all their diversity, for the mission, of proclaiming these wonderful blessings to all the world.