Fr. A giving the homily on the Vigil of Pentecost!
May 24, 2021
Dear Family of Mary!
Today we celebrate a new feast dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church! This feast is celebrated on the day after Pentecost! It makes perfect sense. Our Lady was with the Apostles for the 9 days before the coming of the Holy Spirit. She was teaching them how to pray! She was mothering them into the Coming of the Holy Spirit!!
And we can depend on Our Lady to continue her mothering of the Church in our day. Indeed, she continues it from Medjugorje, where she has come to prepare us for the new times!
I have a special gift for you all today. It is the transcript of the Homily given at the Evening International Mass in Medjugorje for Saturday, May 22, 2021, the Vigil of Pentecost! This homily is a reality check for all of us. Given by a priest from Citluk, Fr. Azinimov (not sure of the spelling), this homily will knock your socks off!! It is long, but bear with me, it is worth the read.
Better yet, listen to it at this link:
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to John
On the last day and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood there and cried out, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to me. Let the man come and drink who believes in me.” As scripture says, from His breath shall flow fountains of Living Water. He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in Him were to receive; for there was no Spirit as yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ!
Brothers and Sisters,
This evening, Jesus is clearly telling us, “Whoever is thirsty may come to Me.”
And the question arises, Who is not thirsty? O Jesus, I can tell you on behalf of us all: We are all thirsty! And without You, we really die. Although we are drinking water, we die; because we don’t have Your Spirit, Your Living Water.
Therefore, let us pray this evening, indeed, truly, for the power of the Holy Spirit.
When Pope John Paul II came to Poland – I like always to start with him – he came on a large square in the Republic; over 1,000,000 Polish people gathered there; cameras were transmitting it; Soviet Union watching it.
And then, there was hopelessness, anxiety in Poland, people were dying in anxiety. And John Paul II started to speak before that crowd. And Polish people expected that he was going to be the savior, that the message of salvation would come from him.
He had papers in his hands, reading the sermon, but then he stopped. And he said to his people, “Close your eyes.” They closed their eyes – over 1,000,000 of them! And then Pope said, “Come, Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit, and renew the face of the earth!”
I would like you all to close your eyes now. Close your eyes. We, too, are going to say today, as the Pope said that day,
People didn’t take weapons, but they took the Rosary in their hands. The Rosary saved the world! Our Lady – of Lourdes, Fatima, Medjugorje – says, “Through that power, the world will be saved! Through prayer!” The world is already saved through Jesus Christ, through His Passion; but you can save it so that it is not destroyed, through prayer, through the Holy Spirit. How are you going to have the Holy Spirit unless you pray? And the power of the Holy Spirit, woke the Polish people up, and Communism declined.
We are in the same time of hopelessness and anxiety as once they were. Nobody is happy. People have everything, but they are not happy. People are anxious. We are all thirsty, we hunger. We are competing. And there is no happiness, there is no joy. And we need the power of the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to penetrate us. Unless I believe through the Holy Spirit, my faith is in vain.
We, priests, here, if we don’t have the Holy Spirit, we are only servants. If you sit here and you have no the Holy Spirit, you are just passing part of the Church. The Church has no use of you. You, while building the Church, just like us priests: only through the power of the Holy Spirit. The answer to the time in which we live is only one: the Holy Spirit can change the face of the earth.
We, Christians, often are anxious and say, “It is over.” But look at the history of the Church. The first three or four centuries, saints like: St. Augustine, Athanasius, Monica, Peter. So, “God, did you leave any saints for the Last Times?” Saints are there in the first three, four centuries of the Church. But today: Mother Teresa, John Paul II, John XXIII, Little Teresa… but that is only a handful. “O God, what have you left to us in our times? Who will guide us?” And then, the Holy Spirit gives us answer: “The Last Time is the Time of the Holy Spirit and Mary.” Church isn’t going to win through saints today. The Church doesn’t need, that much, saints, but, the Power of the Holy Spirit.
Like San Giovanni Rotondo, everybody plugged in to Padre Pio. “Oh, we are doing well, we have Padre Pio.” These times are over! God wants EACH ONE of us to be a Prophet! EACH ONE of us to live in the Holy Spirit: to Love, to Live! The time has come for Personal Christianity: YOU have to pray. Don’t expect somebody else to pray for you.
People say, “Father, please offer mass for me.” Yes, but you have to come to mass! You have to be on your knees; with your body, be present.
You go on a pilgrimage, “Oh, Father, please, will you remember me?” Well, you, too, make a step out of your house and love God. Don’t pass it over onto others.
God wants EACH ONE of us to be a Saint; not just a few individuals. All Nations, All Peoples to be Saints.
Now, Father Slavko was in Medjugorje. He was praying on Apparition Hill, on Cross Mountain. He prayed Adoration. When he died, people wondered, “What will happen now?” But we are all called to be witnesses. Every priest should go to Apparition Hill, to Cross Mountain – one who loves Mary. You who live here, get up early in the morning and go up Podbrdo and Cross Mountain. You have to bear witness with your life. That is what God is expecting of you: to be the witness, to fall in love with Eucharist.
How much have we longed for a mass? For the church not to be closed? Churches are opened. There is no greater strength than the power of the Holy Eucharist.
At the Last Supper, Jesus said to the Apostles, “I will be handed over.” Their community was falling apart. They were dispersed. Judas betrayed him; hanged himself. Peter, three times denied him. They were without hope. And what did Jesus tell them? “When there is no future, when you are dispersed…” what will unite you? …the Economy? Oh no. …your fishing nets? No. “Do this, in memory of me,” Jesus told them. That will wake you up! That is your future: The Eucharist.
“Peter,” Jesus says to him, “I will pray for you, because you are without Faith. But, when I give you Faith, when you come to your senses, wake your brothers up! Celebrate Holy Mass; celebrate the Eucharist. That is your Hope!”
When people say, “Father, we don’t have hope.” But this is your Hope! This Piece of Bread and a Drop of Jesus’ Blood – that is the future of the world!
It is said here in the readings, “Who sees hope?” That is not hope. We believe this is Jesus. You have to believe that Host – the Consecrated Host – is the Body of Christ, and this Wine is His Precious Blood. It will not happen in a visible way that you can see it. You can just see it with Faith.
Politics will not save us. We have Programs; we have Projects. Well, that will not save me. If you draw my future and assure me a better existence; that is not hope. Hope cannot be drawn. Hope cannot be put in Programs; but in God. This is why God has not abandoned the world: God loves us all! And God is sending the power and the force of the Holy Spirit so that we may ALL be transformed.
The Disciples say, “Jesus, are you the one we are waiting for? Or are we to wait for somebody else. Tell us, are you the one?” Look at this world. We would like to know. Euthanasia. Abortion. I said last time, Covid, Covid is here, abortions are done nevertheless; what is worse, even more. Oh, Jesus! You have come into the worst time haven’t you? Have you come really when all this evil is done?
Jews say, “Jesus didn’t come. We do not believe in Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Another Messiah will come. When he comes, then we shall believe. Because, your Jesus of Nazareth, for 2,000 years, it has been seen, that He is a false prophet: nothing is changed.”
Christians say, “What am I doing in the Church? In the Western Civilization, people are leaving the Church in great numbers. And the world might think that maybe Jesus did not come into this world. So, we ask you, Jesus, this evening, have you really come into this world? Mary, have you really appeared here? Because what change do we have here? A few houses built, but no change.”
We don’t see, through you, somebody is appearing here. We measure God’s coming with our own evil. Because I am doing evil, God has not come. I am doing evil, so Our Lady is not appearing. My evil is not the measure of God’s coming. God has truly come. God has come into this world.
But the writer C.S. Lewis said, “God will not do an invasion as the world is doing.” The world is invading our lives, controlling us. They are really, really belittling our human dignity. God does not do that. “I am not going to invade,” God says, “But I will come at the end of Time. At the End of History, I will come in power and force. It is said in Revelation, ‘…and I will show my real face.’ I will show what is the Kingdom of God, and what is the Power.” God has created this world, and He will overtake it. The last Judgment Day, He will invade; and it will be horrifying for many.
Why is not God doing it now? That (pointing at the Eucharist in the Tabernacle), is His invasion at this time; and there is nothing better than Holy Eucharist! God does not change the way He Loves You. The Eucharist has its value for the last 2,000 years. God will not change it.
The Eucharist is that Quiet Love you are to believe in.
When marriage is in crisis, they say, “He doesn’t love me as he used to.” So, what do you do? “Well, I will take my wife, now, on holiday. I will buy her something.” He is changing his attitude in order to refresh their love.
But God does not act that way. He is God! And He says, “For 2,000 years,” He is telling us, “until I come in my Final Glory I will Love you always in the same way: through the Eucharist. I cannot give you better than the Eucharist.” Eucharist!
Our Lady says, here, “I cannot give you better Love than to bring you to My Son Jesus and to give you the Rosary.” Many expected theological tracts, the depths. It is not the Blessed Mother because this message is not deep; it’s far too simple. It’s so simple that even a child can understand it. Well, Our Lady will not change her way of speaking. For 40 years, she has been with us; it is the same way. She speaks in the same way. God loves in the same way. “Pray. Participate in Holy Mass. Go for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.” The message of the Blessed Mother perseveres. There is no oscillation.
In the midst of the crisis with Covid, people ask, “What does Mary say?” If you read the last messages, it is as if she was not aware of our anxieties. And she never mentioned one word; because, that disease is nothing. It exists, but it is not the key. Jesus is the key! Our Lady speaks of Her Son; because without Him, there is nothing: He is our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is why the Holy Spirit has to come: for us to wake up. To understand that Jesus is already giving us His Love, but we are blind to it. That is the awakening. Until the Holy Spirit descended upon them, the Apostles were closed. They saw Jesus. The Risen Christ says to them, “Peace be with you,” but nevertheless, they remained closed. Apostles were not transformed by seeing the Risen Christ. St. Thomas put his finger into His Wounds, “My God, My Everything!” But Thomas remained the same; there was no change.
We can say the same, “Oh, Medjugorje was wonderful. I prayed. I went for confession. Our Lady is here. But there is no change in me. I keep on coming here, Father.”
“Holy Spirit has not overtaken you.”
That is the change that we all need: for the Holy Spirit to overtake us. That the Apparition Hill – Podbrdo, the Cross Mountain, would never be empty without people. Like the early days of Apparitions – shoulder-to-shoulder, knee-to-knee – there would be crowds of people praying. All the praying we do, it will still not be all; we would like more.
And now, people say, “Well, one hour of Holy Mass, that’s enough.” And the other one who is praying with the Holy Spirit remains in prayer for four hours and would still continue. Look at this place: This place is made for prayer. Walking through the fields to Apparition Hill, Cross Mountain, and Church in the center. Everything here reminds us of prayer. But that prayer, you have to live in your household as well.
The Church is in need of the Holy Spirit. We don’t accept the Holy Spirit. I don’t know about my brothers, priests, but I can say for myself, it’s easier to work in the office and give documents than to bear witness for the Risen Christ. It is easier to be a clerk that has time also for his recreation than to bear witness at all times and every place.
Therefore, I will finish with the words of prayer,
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!