[COLUMN] A message on Pentecost Sunday

“THE Holy Spirit is real!” our seminarian, Hieu Nguyen, expressed to me as he went to his diaconate ordination at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angles last Saturday. He was overwhelmed with joy at reaching this time, only a year away from priestly ordination after six years of seminary formation.

I share the feelings of now Deacon Hieu. God’s pouring of the Holy Spirit on us who strive to be good and holy through a life of prayer and service amazes me. The Holy Spirit has made us strong, resilient, faithful, courageous, and creative as we navigated through the challenges of the pandemic. The Holy Spirit has kept our parish alive despite recent surveys that many Catholics have disengaged themselves from participating in Sunday Masses and the life of the parish. We may not have big crowds on Sunday anymore, but one can see and feel that palpable faith of those who remain faithful to attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist.

Of course, fellow Catholics’ lukewarm faith and indifference challenge and worry us. Still, many of us, clergy and laypeople, including young adults and youth, refuse to let go of our zeal and passion for our faith, the Gospel, and our love for Jesus.

We believe that Jesus would never abandon his Church.

Instead, a new Pentecost will come to rebuild it and bring back its vigor. The words we sing at Mass, “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again!” are true. We will rise again with Jesus on eagles’ wings!

As I would always say, nothing and no one can stop us from living and celebrating our faith. We claim the relevance and the power of the Gospel to bring changes to our society. We believe in the transformation of lives through a personal relationship with Jesus. And as Catholics, we are steadfast in professing our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Our strength comes not merely from the blessings and gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit but also from the profound expressions of our love and fidelity to Jesus through prayer, adoration, and celebration of the Sacraments.

On this Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday, may we remain steadfast in faith and love for Jesus, who assured his disciples: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of age” (Matthew 28:20).

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.


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