May 15, 2016 – Year C
Readings: Acts 2:1-11 / Ps 104 / 1 Cor 12:3B-7, 12-13 / Jn 20:19-23
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Yesterday afternoon, after I prayed our mid-afternoon prayers at the church rectory, I was admiring the beauty of the rain from the window. And this led me and inspired me to once again read the free verse poem written by Michelle Sedas entitled “Welcome the Rain.” I usually don’t read poems, but somehow this one I have read quite a number of times and part of it reads this way:
As the first raindrops fall to the ground
A businessman lets out an angry sigh.
Knowing traffic will be slow he thinks,
Why me? Why today? Just tell me why!
Outside of town, a farmer scans the horizon
As the storm clouds begin to roll in.
With joy and celebration he calls out,
We are blessed! At last! This drought will end!
In every life storms will come:
Adversity, Inconvenience, or Pain.
Only we can choose how we will respond:
To be overwhelmed or to Welcome The Rain.
The author of this poem sees the world in a Christian perspective. As the saying attributed to an unknown Christian puts it, “When life gives you a lemon, make lemonade.” The Spanish version of this saying sounds even more interesting. It says, “When life gives you lemons, grab a tequila and salt.”
These say something similar to what St Paul wrote to the Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Have no anxiety at all. But in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, make your request known to God.” What made St Paul and the early Christians rejoice, even in the midst of persecution and suffering, is not just willpower, but the gift of the Holy Spirit.
On today’s feast of Pentecost, God’s words in the first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, remind us of that glorious day when the Lord fulfilled His promise to His disciples that they would receive power. Tongues, as of fire, came to rest on each of them. And from that time on, they were never the same again. They did not only speak in tongues, but they had the courage to face even death itself, because it became clear to them that they are not ordinary mortals; they are God’s temples.
The good news is that the fire of the Holy Spirit is still burning now. The same Holy Spirit continues to dwell in us. It gives us the grace to see the real presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, and His spiritual presence in all the other sacraments. It gives us the enlightenment to understand God’s words in the sacred scriptures. It enables us to see the world in all its beauty the way the Lord God intended them to be. And it shows us the way to live life in all its fullness.
St Paul’s reminder to the early Christians in Rome is also for each and every one of Christ’s followers in the 21st Century, when he said, “The one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies through His spirit that dwells in you.”