Today we celebrate the eve of day of PENTECOST! One of the most important Christian celebrations, the date that celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the followers of Christ.
With much AFFECTION and GRATITUDE, I shared today, a message from Father Paulo Ricardo, who is a member of the Christian Congregation in Brazil, owner of an unshakable faith, evangelizer, wise protector of the Church's principles. A reflection on our mission in the world and how it should be accomplished, through the purification of the encounter with GOD.
May his wise words sensitize our hearts to a GOODNESS we owe to others and ourselves!
"In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen!
My dear sisters and brothers, we are all here at Pentecost. Tonight is already the Pentecost vigil. We, as apostles, together with the Virgin Mary, gather united to receive the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel that celebrates tomorrow's Mass is the Gospel in which Saint John concludes all of his great work. He says that whoever testifies to these things that are written in the Gospel is exactly the disciple that Jesus loved, the one that reclined on Jesus' chest during the supper. He says: "This is the disciple that testifies these things and that wrote and knows that this is true".
Now, here we are going to see an important mark of the Apostolic Ministry. The apostle, those apostles gathered with the Virgin Mary asking for the Holy Spirit, are the exact same apostles who come out to witness. It is important to see this: the Church as a heart that has systole and diastole; go on a mission, come to lay your head on Jesus' chest, go to give life and announce the gospel, come to be with Mary, pray, contemplate, experience the truth of God, go to pour out the blood and convert multitudes. This is the reality of the Church: to meet with Jesus, to meet with Mary, to be allowed to be with Christ and then go on a mission.
This is the true interpretation of what people say in Latin America, of "missionary disciple", that is, being with Mary, with Jesus, reclining the head on Jesus' chest so that after he will be sent as an apostle, as a missionary.
Unfortunately, we see an opposite trend, that is, we see Catholics leaving on a mission without having been with Jesus, that is, people leaving for the world, not to teach the world, but to be perverted by it. The Church wants its missionaries to leave to evangelize and convert and change hearts. But what we see every day is that Catholics leave to be perverted, removed from the Church and stay with a mundane mentality.
You see, here we have a reality that is not like arithmetic where the order of factors does not change the product. Here in fact, the order of factors does change the product. There is no “go on a mission” if there was no “come with Jesus” before and this is the reality of the apostle.
In the days before Pentecost, that is, between the ascension of Jesus and Pentecost, in that novena, the Apostles did a very important thing: they chose a replacement for Judas, Saint Matthias, and they put a very clear criteria: “We choose among us someone who have been with Jesus in Jordan until he ascended to Heaven to be with us, to witness the Resurrection”. The basic and fundamental criteria for Matthias to be an apostle was to have been with Jesus, to have been a disciple of Jesus. Not a disciple of the world. The Apostles did not go to look for a successor for Judas in the great Academy of Athens, nor in the Roman Forum, nor in the great schools of rethoric. They went to find among those who were with Jesus.
So, here it is, that before the doors of Pentecost, we understand the mission of the Church that is born, is born on the morning of Pentecost, at nine in the morning, that fire, that earthquake, that apostolic testimony, that "parresia", bravery, that fearlessness with which the apostles proclaimed the Gospel moved by the fire of the Holy Spirit.
They went out to testify, to expand the Church. This is how the Church is born, this is how the Church grows. This is the secret of the Church. This is our DNA. This is our identity. May this Pentecost vigil reach God through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the grace to once again lay our head on Jesus' chest and then go on a mission.
And then we can say how the Holy Evangelist tells us in his first letter: “What we saw”, what was from the beginning, the eternal verb, yes but “what we saw, what we heard, what we played with your hands, the eternal word that became flesh, this is what we announce to you so that you may have communion with you and your joy be full.
God bless you. A Happy and Holy Pentecost!
In the name of the Father, and of the Holy Spirit and Son, Amen!"
A tight and virtual HUG to you!
Fátima C. Brízio
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