Audio Sermons

Pentacost Sunday 2017

    Today, I’m going to tell you about another gift of the Holy
    Spirit that was evident at Pentecost; the outpouring of the Holy
    Spirit on the apostles and other disciples while they were still
    in Jerusalem. That is courage, courage that comes directly
    from the Holy Spirit as a gift. You see, the apostles knew Jesus
    was risen from the dead. They had seen him repeatedly in
    different places and different circumstances. They had talked
    with him, touched him, eaten with him, and finally watched his
    ascend into heaven. They had also received from Jesus the
    great commission to go out and make disciples of all nations by
    baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of
    the Holy Spirit. They had been told to teach all nations to obey
    Jesus’ commandments. They knew he was God the Son. They
    knew he was the Messiah. They knew that he died for all and
    that salvation was through him. They knew that death was not

    the end because he would give them eternal life in his Father’s
    house. They knew all this and what they were supposed to do
    but they weren’t telling anyone. Why? Because they were still
    afraid for themselves. They were still afraid that they might be
    rounded up by the people who had taken Jesus and had him
    killed. So they were still gathering behind closed doors and
    keeping themselves very safe. Until theHoly Spirit came on
    them. God had other plans for them. They had received so
    many gifts and graces, and knowledge. They had witnessed so
    many things about Jesus. God wasn’t going to let them keep
    all that secret. So at Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon them
    and shoved them out the door so to speak where they began
    doing what? Making bold proclamations the Scriptures tell us.
    Where? In Jerusalem, in the very city where Jesus had been
    taken and crucified. And Peter. What about Peter? Peter,
    who had denied even knowing Jesus, will never deny him
    again. He’s the most bold of all the apostles. He gets up and
    tells everyone there how they were responsible for Jesus’
    blood. He says, this Jesus, whom you crucified, God has raised
    from the dead and made both Lord and Messiah and if you
    want to be saved you need to be Baptized in his name. He has
    the courage that comes from the powerful presence of the Holy
    Spirit poured in his heart at Pentecost.

    So what about us? We are Christians. What does this
    mean? It means that we have to have the same courage to take
    our Christianity outside the doors of the church we are in and
    share it with the rest of the world around us in a bold and
    courageous way, like Jesus. You see Jesus had the courage
    that comes from being right with God and freedom from the
    fear that other people might not like him. We need to think of
    Jesus as a man of courage. We think of Jesus as kind, as
    merciful, as peaceful, as tender like the Good Shepherd who
    carries a lamb in his arms. And Jesus even describes himself as
    meek and humble of heart but make no mistake Jesus was
    courageous too. He had both moral and physical courage.
    There was the time when a mob brought to Jesus a woman
    caught in adultery and they were ready to stone her to death.
    Jesus took on that mob head on because of his own personal
    moral and physical courage. He didn’t plead with the crowd.
    He didn’t take a vote. He challenged them back about their
    own sins, and the woman left that day with her life because of
    the courage of Jesus. Now, we may tend to think that the
    crowd just stood there listening to the words of Jesus, quietly
    taking them in. I doubt it. It was a mob and a mob that was
    intent on killing the woman. I imagine there were people

    shouting out all the time and many who were ready to throw
    stones at him too.
    I say this because one of the things I shared with the men’s
    ministry group was an account of a time when Bishop
    Desmond Tutu faced a mob that was trying to kill a man they
    suspected of collaborating with the apartheid government of
    South Africa. They were all around him, beating him, and had
    put tire around his head that had been stuffed with gasoline
    soaked rags that they were going to light to kill him. Bishop
    Tutu waded into the crowd and people were shoving him and
    yelling at him and he was in real danger. He got the man away
    from the crowd and saved his life but not without risking his
    own. That kind of courage comes from being right with God,
    from loving Jesus Christ, and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
    Few of us will ever be called upon to demonstrate that kind
    of courage but most of us will at some time or another,
    especially young people, be called upon to support and defend
    someone that a group would rather go after, to say, “that’s
    enough, knock it off.” That’s not easy. It’s easier to let a
    group do something wrong than to tell them what is right but
    that is where the Holy Spirit comes in. The Holy Spirit gives us
    the courage to do precisely what Jesus did.

    But whether we are young or old it takes courage to be a
    believing, practicing Catholic Christian. I am sure that almost
    everyone here has had the occasion where you are with family
    or friends or maybe even with people you don’t know very well
    at all who either for fun or for spite or out of bigotry start
    going off on what is wrong with the Catholic Church and how
    it needs to change it teachings and views on abortion, family
    planning, what constitutes a marriage. Some of these people
    may have been Catholic and others may have no religious
    affiliation at all. They don’t have anything to offer other than
    their criticism of the Church but that isn’t their point. It is
    just to attack, you, because you are there and you are
    Christian.
    Now, if you want to have some fun, you can challenge them
    and ask them, “So, if the Church changes its teaching on
    abortion, marriage, family planning and everything to how you
    think it should be, you will go back and be in a pew every
    Sunday?” Of course they won’t. If they wanted to do that they
    would have found their way to any one of a number of
    churches or denominations that share their beliefs. That’s not
    the point. If they did go they still might be reminded that they
    are not God. When they go after the Church and your faith

    they want an excuse not believe and if you give your faith it
    validates their choice.
    But being a Christian is ultimately a choice, no, a life
    decision. The Christian is someone who decides to belong to
    Jesus Christ, God the Son, The Christian says, “He is the one
    who suffered and died for my sins, who teaches me how to live,
    who heals me. He never promised an easy life but he did
    promise the Holy Spirit and I have the courage and strength to
    face what comes because I live a Spirit filled life. This same
    Jesus Christ loves me and wants me in his Father’s house with
    him. In him I live and move and have my being. Like Peter, I
    will speak, and not be silent. I will believe and not be afraid.