Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, which Jesus Christ founded. It is
worthy of the solemnity with which the Catholic Church celebrates it!
At the first Pentecost, 50 days after Jesus rose from the dead, the Body of
Christ, the Catholic Church, received her soul, the Holy Spirit. Stated
another way, just as Adam had the breath of life (his immortal soul)
breathed into him, so now the Bride of Christ, the Church, receives the
Breath of God’s life and love (the Holy Spirit) at Pentecost.
The human body lost its immortality as a consequence of Original Sin. The
Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, also suffers from this infamous fall
from God’s grace. The head of the Mystical Body is Jesus, while the soul is
the Holy Spirit. Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are immortal Divine Persons
while we, the members of that Body of Christ, have a fallen human nature,
which weakened our wills and darkened our intellects.
This doesn’t sound like a very fun existence. But wait! Before we get all
down in the dumps about our plight, we should know we have a lot going for
us. After all, we are celebrating Pentecost, the birthday of the Catholic
Church, the Bride of Christ, which means we have reason for hope because we
have two divine advocates pleading our cause: Jesus and the Holy Spirit. In
addition, we have the whole court of heaven, the souls in Purgatory and the
members of the Church here on earth praying for us. So, cheer up. We have
plenty to be happy about!
So, what can we do to overcome our fallen human nature? Be the best we can
be, with God’s help.
Have you ever heard of a CINO? That’s a Catholic-In-Name-Only. We have
plenty of them in our country and in our world. In fact, they are probably a
majority. We can be confident that there were no CINOs on that first
Pentecost. They were all “pure-breds,” so to speak, Catholic to the core.
Jesus had 12 quality Catholics (the Apostles) upon whom He founded His
Church. He had 120 quality Catholics present on Pentecost Sunday. That
number increased to 3,000 by that very evening because of those first
Catholics who knew that they were more than just CINOs. It is really
heartening to be around informed Catholics who live and witness to their
faith correctly. They are happy, engaging, enthusiastic, focused and alive!
They are apostolic—that is, willing to do anything to keep spreading the
faith authentically by their Christ-like lives.
The Mission Statement of Jesus is: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt
28:19). We are to fulfill this mission of Jesus.
The Catholic Church needs a rebirth of members who are more like the first
Pentecost Catholics (not just more CINOs). It all has to do with being
willing to make sacrifices and going the extra mile. It truly will be a
‘happy birthday’ for the Catholic Church when the growth in true Pentecost
Catholics fully purges the Church of those who are Catholic in name only.
May the effects of that first Pentecost be our inspiration to take an active
role in carrying out Christ’s mission. “Day after day the churches grew
stronger in faith and increased in number” (Acts 16:5).
2013 Southern Nebraska Register Publication Dates
(Resume Jan 4, 2014)
November 27 (Wed.)