By Fr. Jeff Kirch, C.PP.S.
Pentecost was tailor-made for Hollywood. Cecil B. DeMille, the Hollywood director of The Ten Commandments, could have had a field day with the great story of Pentecost. Driving winds and tongues of fire. Hundreds of people speaking different languages and yet being understood. And of course the scene of Jesus walking into the upper room and breathing the Spirit on the apostles would have been the climax of the movie. I can just imagine the great sets and special effects. It could have been a blockbuster.
All of the scenes of our Pentecost movie point to two important elements unity and courage. These two themes are woven throughout our readings this weekend. From the Acts of the Apostles, people from all over the known world, each with their own language, suddenly understand one another and become one body through the power of the Spirit. St. Paul picks up the same theme in his First Letter to the Corinthians when he speaks of the many parts making up but one body. It is the Holy Spirit that, even to this day, binds the Church together in unity. Each Sunday during the Eucharistic Prayer, we ask the Holy Spirit to come and make all of us gathered around the altar into the one body of Christ.
Our movie has another theme: courage. The Holy Spirit unifies a divided people and gives us the courage to fulfill our mission. Left to our own strengths and abilities, we will not accomplish the mission that Christ has given us. But with the Holy Spirit, we can. Only after being filled with the Holy Spirit in the first reading are the apostles able to speak in different tongues. And in our Gospel it is Jesus breathing the Spirit upon the apostles that empowers them to be sent out to proclaim the reconciling power of Christ.
The two themes are intertwined: unity and courage. The mission of Christ, our mission as Missionaries of the Precious Blood, is not a solitary mission. We are in this together. We are gifted with our charism and called to share it through our ministry and life together. During Pentecost it is my prayer that each of us can recognize how we are filled with the Holy Spirit and together are called to be courageous in our work for the Gospel.
The V. Rev. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S., is the provincial director of the Cincinnati Province. Previously, he served as the secretary general of the worldwide Congregation and was also in ministry at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., of which he is an alumnus.