Celebrating the Church at Pentecost


This coming Sunday’s celebration of the Solemnity of Pentecost provides the answer to the central problem facing the Church today. Namely, there are many people who want to separate Jesus from His Church. They want God but not the worship of God. They are spiritual but not religious.

On Pentecost disciples of Jesus say we’re not just spiritual; we’re religious too. We don’t worship a God of our own creation, a god who doesn’t make too much fuss about our life. On Pentecost we remember that the Lord of the Gospels has left a Church. He established a family, without which we never come to meet Him. Catholic faith is personal but it is never private. Every effort to privatize the faith should be resisted. There’s always an ecclesial—that is, a church-related—dimension to Catholic faith.

The Church born on Pentecost has a structure, of priests and bishops and popes through the ages. It is not a system we cooked up but a structure given by the Lord. Through the Holy Spirit, the Church born on Pentecost guards the seven Sacraments. One need not wonder where to meet God. We find Him at the baptismal font, the confessional, the altar rail, the sick bed, at the celebration of sacramental marriage.

On Pentecost we celebrate the Church. We love the Church. Like any family, it’s made up of sinners, like us. We love them too. But the very same Church is the bride of Christ, His body of members united to Him.