This vigil day of Pentecost began with a Mass in Pinebluff, Wyoming. If you have ever been on I80 on the East border of Wyoming, you cannot miss this 45 foot tall image of our Lady of Peace north of the interstate. It is the project of a family, Ted and Marjorie Trefren, to express their devotion to the Blessed Mother.
Included at the shrine are other images of our Blessed Mother and an impressive set of Stations of the Cross. We were scheduled to have an outdoor Mass at the site today, but the persistent Wyoming wind moved the event to the local parish church of St. Paul in Pinebluff. About 100 people were present for the celebration. As today’s liturgical feast of St. Barnabas took precedence, we celebrated the Mass in memorial of St. Barnabas, but Our Lady got quite the honorable mention. As always, God’s providence provided to bring together the Memorial of St. Barnabas, in a place to honor the Blessed Mother, on the Vigil of Pentecost.
This evening, we began our Pentecost celebration with the final Confirmation celebration of the season. Two ladies made their profession of faith into full communion with the Catholic Church and and were also confirmed along with seventeen others.
I am a firm believer the Holy Spirit is setting the Church ablaze with faith once again. This Pentecost we celebrate not only the “memory” of the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but the continued presence and action of the same Holy Spirit throughout the history of salvation. This is the same Holy Spirit breathed upon the waters of creation. This is the same Holy Spirit breathed into Adam, and indeed all of humanity brought to life with the very breath of God and recreated throught the redeeming work of Christ and the outpouring of His Holy Spirit.
This is the same Holy Spirit which came upon Mary at the Incarnation that she was capable of conceiving the Word of God made flesh. This is the same Holy Spirit invoked at every Mass during the Eucharistic prayer as the Church prays that our gifts of bread and wine may become the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ!
This is the same Holy Spirit shared with us in Baptism and Confirmation, that we may become children of God and united in the One Body of Christ, the Church. This flame of the Holy Spirit that has taken up its dwelling in us is the fire of Divine Love, that lights out way through the darkenss of this world into the fullness of God’s Kingdom.
This is the same Holy Spirit, which burns away within us all that is not of God. This fire of Divine Love consumes any and all that would lead us away from God, away from life, away from love, to create an even greater capacity within us for the very same Divine Love.
The heat and fire of this same Holy Spirit melts away the indifference that is too satisfied with the things of this world to care about the things of heaven. It melts away the hardness of heart and selfishness that breaks down our unity as the Body of Christ. As our hardness of heart gives way to the fire of this Holy Spirit, we are made capable of receiving a new heart, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, where the laws of God are written within us to lead us to all Truth.
This is why we are an Easter People, living in faith the life that is ours in the Risen Christ. May this Pentecost set us on fire once again for the work of God. May this Pentecost create a new docility and openess to the Spirit within each of us as individuals, and within the corporate Body of the Church, that we may be all that the Father intends for this new age and new evangelization!