Skip to content

Homilies for Pentecost (C)

Videos from selected homilists; Transcript excerpts from Fr. Hawkswell, Fr. Fleming, Fr. Chama, Msgr. Pellegrino, Fr. Sigma, Fr. Kavanaugh’s homilies; Bishop Barron podcasts; Life Issues; Doctrinal Homily Outlines

Pentecost Sunday (C)


Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, which is “not just an assembly of believers gathered around Christ,” writes Father Hawkswell. “She is a body, with Christ as her head, the Holy Spirit as her soul, and us as her members.” (Garvan Yeung/B.C. Catholic files)
Bloom Chama Chua Cummins Fleming Hawkswell Holsington
Kavanaugh Lane Langeh Lawrence McKinnon Pavone Pellegrino
Powell Schuster Senior Smiga Terra Turner Wester

Featured Homilies


Love the Church and Honor Her



When Pentecost came – 50 days after Jesus had risen from the dead and 10 days after he had ascended to heaven – the apostles were “filled with the Holy Spirit,” as he had promised.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “by communicating his Spirit,” Christ “mystically” constituted as his body those whom he calls together “from every nation.”

“Just as the body is one and has many members [or organs],” St. Paul says, “and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.”


Pentecost Sunday



I wonder: if we had a new Pentecost would you prefer to be knocked over by a strong wind or have a flame settle just above the part in your hair? Will it be wind strong and driving: wind that forces you to lean into it as you walk; wind so strong that if you don’t bow to it, you’ll be blown over; wind strong enough strip a tree of leaves and branches and strong enough to strip us of what we hold too tightly what we reach for that is not ours… wind strong enough to knock us down a peg or two; wind strong to sweep us off our feet, like a lover driven to have us…

Or will it be tongues of fire, flames settling on our heads: a flame strong enough to light our path in the dark times, a flame bright enough to expose our hidden sins; a flame warm enough to take the chill from a hardened heart and melt our stubborn pride; a flame of beauty drawing others to share our faith and hope; a flame as pure as God: weightless yet weighted by the Cross it brands upon our hearts…


Seeing the Invisible


God acts in visible and invisible ways.  The scriptures describe God visiting our ancestors in visible form.  God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the garden, visited Abraham in the heat of the afternoon by the oaks of Mamre, spoke to Moses face to face on Mount Sinai.  Of course, we as Christians believe that God became one of us in Jesus of Nazareth.  Jesus is for us God made visible.  But God’s actions are not limited only to these visible manifestations.  In fact, God acts more frequently and more universally in ways that we cannot see.  This brings us to today’s feast, the Feast of Pentecost.  Because today we celebrate the gift of the Spirit, and it is through the Spirit of God that God works invisibly in our lives and in our world.  When we say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” we say that God is present and active in all things, in all things but sin.  When we say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit”, we say that there is no natural process, no historical development that is independent of God. God is present invisibly in all things, guiding the events of nature and history.

The famous Jewish comedian, Heni Youngman, was famous for his one-liners.  On his ninetieth birthday a friend asked him, “Heni, to what do you give credit for your long life?”  Without skipping a beat, Youngman responded, “Breathing.”   There you have it.  There’s no argument about that. Where there is no breath, there is no life.  It is our invisible breath which sustains our lives from minute to minute, day to day, year to year.


Gateway to Eternity

| 2016
Dominican Friars of England & Wales, Scotland

Fifty days have passed since Easter. Days of joy, but marked by uncertainty. The message of Easter Sunday is not a joy that is complete for us. We are invited to remain patient.

During Eastertide, Alleluia has been our song. Nobody wants to be a killjoy, but there is a tension: between the hallowed “Alleluia” and a hollow alleluia. Our Christian calling draws us to dwell in the centre of that tension. Let our praise of God be authentic, let our complaint to God be heard. We need to experience God’s love in our lives in tension – he loves us to the end, but our fullest experience of his love for us remains incomplete. We need to learn how much he loves us so that we can grow in faith.

This is where the tension is: our alleluia song of joy expresses nothing saccharine – rather, it announces the great abundance and generosity of God as he comes to us and saves us. The totality and completeness of his self-giving and all-embracing love demands something total and absolute from us, and we are not always ready or able to give that. This is why our Easter alleluia can be painful. It doesn’t yet fit with the glory that we know is promised to us in the Easter message. We can’t quite see that fullness.


Planting Forever

Proclaim Sermons | 2022

“Pentecost” means movement of the spirit . Okay, okay — so it doesn’t mean that, exactly. It means, literally, fiftieth , and, in Jewish tradition, it is exactly that: a holiday which takes place on the fiftieth day after the Passover. Pentecost has its roots in ancient planting and harvest festivals. There is always a “planting” on Pentecost. On Pentecost, the Israelites were “planted” — established on their Exodus journey — and the Law, Torah , is traditionally regarded as having been “planted” in Israel, given to Moses at Mt. Sinai, on this day.

And today is the church’s birthday: Pentecost is the day upon which we celebrate the original church planting — the birth of the church. We are reminded of this every year, as well we should be! It is not stretching a point too far at all to say that this is a day as important as Christmas. Why?

Because this day commemorates the day in which the church was launched, was birthed, was lifted up and thrust forward into the future — into forever. Jesus is gone. Not gone as in dead and present only in fond memories, but gone as in gone forward : departed in a way no one has ever departed before; gone as in still very much with us, but with us in an entirely different way. And because he is “gone” in that way, we are different, and the world has changed. We have entered into a time of salvation, a time when, as Peter says in the immediate aftermath of this Spirit-visit in wind and fire, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”


Fire of Your Love

HomiliesST. MARY OF THE VALLEY | 2010

Bottom line: The Holy Spirit creates, heals and sustains. If only we would open our hearts to the fire of his love:

Many of you know this prayer: “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love…” What is this fire?

Let’s start at the beginning. Fire creates. We know this even from modern physics. They talk about a moment when the universe was tiny, smaller than an apple. According to this theory what the cosmos lacked in size it made up for in temperature: trillions and trillions of degrees. The numbers are beyond imagining – higher even than our national debt! Anyway from this primal fire comes the matter to make up the galaxies, stars and planets, including our own.

So fire creates. The Holy Spirit prayer says, “Kindle in us the fire of your love,” and adds, “send forth your Spirit and they shall be created…” The fire of the Holy Spirit creates us.

Besides creating, fire purifies. Later this summer we have our parish picnic. The Knights will grill hamburgers. They fire not only gives the burgers a delicious taste but also kills harmful bacteria. Fire likewise purifies gold or silver. Just so the Holy Spirit burns away the greed, lust and bitterness that poison our hearts.

Because fire creates and purifies we pray, “kindle in us the fire of your love”. Fire also sustains. We hear today how the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in tongues of fire. Before receiving the Holy Spirit, they were uncertain and fearful. The Holy Spirit gave them courage and directed them.

RELATED HOMILIES | 2022 Homilies


Being Born Again



Being “born again” seems to be within the exclusive domain of evangelical or Pentecostal Protestants. You may be surprised to know that being “born again” is not the sole monopoly of Protestants. But when Catholics use it, they typically mean something quite different. When a Catholic says that he has been “born again,” he refers to the transformation that God’s grace accomplished in him during baptism. Yes, if we have been baptised, we have been “born again.”

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI described the Feast of the Pentecost as the feast of “the Baptism of the Church.” It is the day the Church is “born again.” The Holy Spirit, “who is the Lord and the Giver of Life … has the power to sanctify, to remove divisions, to dissolve the confusion caused by sin. … The Spirit distributes divine goodness and supports living beings that they may act in accordance with that goodness. As intelligible Light, it gives meaning to prayer, invigorates the mission of evangelisation, sets aflame the hearts of those who hear the happy message, and inspires Christian art and liturgical music. … It creates faith within us at the moment of our Baptism and allows us to live as conscious and responsible children of God, in keeping with the image of the Only-begotten Son.”


Invoking the Spirit



It was a huge change. There was nothing subtle about it. They had been in hiding, scared out of their wits. Jesus had been arrested. Rumors flew that the high priests wanted Him crucified. The “Powers-that-be” wanted to send a message to all who would dare challenge their authority. The message was received, loud and clear. None of the disciples were around to witness the events of that Friday, the one we call Good. None, that is, except John, as well as his mother, Mary, Mary Magdeline and a few other of Jesus’ closest friends. But now, fifty days later, the eleven remaining disciples were publically proclaiming Jesus Christ, right there in the Temple area, right where those who murdered Jesus could see them. “You cannot kill God’s plan,” they said. “You couldn’t even keep Jesus in the grave, for He rose and gave His Life to all who believe in Him.” The apostles who had been so afraid of suffering and dying, now saw their own deaths as minor in comparison to their new life with Christ. And they all would be put to death, all except, according to tradition, the only one of them who had the courage to be at the foot of the cross, the apostle John.


Holy Spirit for Zero Waste


Ecological thoughts are what come to mind as I reflect on Pentecost. Is it because ecology is a topic in fashion? Perhaps! But there’s more to it than just fashion. In fact, the way readings allude to the Holy Spirit I see some connection with ecological vocabulary like: Zero waste. So, I ask myself, how does the coming of the Holy Spirit sustain our hope and make us grow in faith through the ecological initiative of zero waste? Let’s reflect together.

Zero waste sends me to Pope Francis’ speech to the European parliament, 25 November 2014 in Strasbourg, in which he warned against the culture of waste. This is not just about the things that we throw away, but also about persons who, because of illness or age, are downgraded as unproductive. Performance becomes a scale to measure a person’s dignity. The antidote for the culture of waste is the commitment to Zero waste where we make a maximum use of anything. Instead of succumbing to the tendency to throw one thing away and rush to get another one, we may become creative by making the effort to transform any potential waste into something usable and useful. However, to unleash such creativity, we may need first to fight the culture of waste.


Renewed by the Holy Spirit

HomiliesYEAR C HOMILIES | 2013

The apostles, Our Lady, and Jesus’ disciples gathered in prayer after Jesus’ ascension, praying for the coming of the Comforter or the Advocate as Jesus called the Holy Spirit (John 14:16.26). The Holy Spirit came and transformed them. After receiving the Holy Spirit, they had the power of Jesus and had the courage to continue Jesus’ ministry.

One person who experienced the Holy Spirit coming to her in a profound way that totally changed her life was Sister Emmanuel in Medjugorje. She grew up in a good Catholic family but as a teenager while attending a boarding school in Paris she began mixing with girls who were using spirit boards and Ouija boards. They did it for hours every week. It was a fascination for them. At this time Emmanuel began to lose her sleep and could not sleep properly at night anymore. She used the boards with her companions for two years until she left boarding school. Sometime afterwards she went to India setting up some business between India and Paris. She was asked to go to an astrologer to see if the business plans were good.


Pentecost—We Have a Part to Play


In looking at my Facebook feed this weekend I have been reminded that we are in the midst of graduation season. Picture after picture of smiling graduates, at all levels, all across the country…  We certainly celebrate with graduates and congratulate them on what they have achieved.  But it is worthwhile to also note that behind every graduate stands dedicated teachers – men and women who often selflessly work for the good of their students.

I have recognized that one of the greatest gifts I have known in my life is that I have had exceptional teachers.  I have been blessed with men and women who have challenged and inspired me from elementary school all the way through my study of theology.  I owe to them so much – more than I can ever repay.  They guided my learning and also taught me how to keep learning.


The Difference it Makes

HomiliesSUNDAY WEB SITE | 1997

Does being a Christian make any difference? Being a Catholic? On Pentecost we are supposed to celebrate the church, but what is the church?

It is expected that we cherish our faith, that we value it enough to pass it on. But is it worth it?

Is our church really all that much a cause for celebration? Has our faith been worth receiving? Is it worth giving?

These days, I guess, we are not supposed to be too proud of our traditions and our identity. After all, diversity is king. One faith, we are told, is as good as another. There are many paths to the mountain top. Why should we be so arrogant as to assume that ours is the best?


Our Experience of the Spirit



The Gospel of John shows Jesus giving the Spirit to His disciples.  This Spirit is to forgive sins—but also to retain sins.  This is a complex gifts and immediately makes us aware that the Spirit is not a gentle Spirit but a strong Spirit that draws us to God or tells us that we are not ready to move to God yet!

Each of us needs to reflect on his or her experience of the Spirit.  Lots of us never think much about the Spirit in our lives.  From the readings today, however, we can see clearly that the Spirit is not something just for ourselves.  No, the Spirit is meant to draw me to serve others, to help others, to pray for others, to forgive others.  There are so many ways to do this!  That is why there are so many gifts of the Spirit.

This is the day of Pentecost and each of us should ask the Holy Spirit to come into us, into our hearts and minds, to transform us more completely into the image of Jesus Christ.  The role of the Spirit is always about Jesus.  The Spirit gives us the same message as Jesus.  The Spirit deepens our knowledge of Jesus.  Whenever we feel any impulse to know Jesus more or to spend time with Jesus, we can recognize that the Spirit is active in us.  When we are drawn to love for the sake of the Gospel, then the Spirit is active in us.  When we want to do the right thing in whatever we are doing, that also is the Spirit in us.


The Meaning of Forgiveness



We often confuse the meaning of forgiveness in other ways, too. So often we hear, “Forget it!” “Get over it!” “Let bygones be bygones!” To do that is only to avoid the hard work of forgiving. Excuse, by all means, what can or needs to be excused. Excusing and forgiving are not the same thing – forgiveness deals precisely with the inexcusable. But while forgiving has its price, so, too, does withholding forgiveness. Withholding forgiveness breeds resentment and bitterness. If these are not dealt with adequately, they become poisonous – psychologically and even physically. This is true not just for us as individuals, but for the community and society in general, leading to floating anger, lack of cooperation, discontent and various levels of depression.

Yet, important as it is, defining forgiveness is difficult. What does it involve? I think Jesus’ greeting to the disciples in today’s Gospel is enlightening. He wished them “Peace”. Does that capture the essence of forgiveness? If it doesn’t, it goes very close to doing so. It would need to be honestly meant – but is certainly worth thinking about.


“Lord and Giver of Life”



Fifty days after the Passover, the People of Israel celebrated “Pentecost,” observing the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, when God wrote the law with his own finger on the tablets of stone. The feast was originally rooted in the celebration of the harvest. It was on that Pentecost Day that the apostles reaped the harvest of the Lord’s Passover of suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection, and received the Holy Spirit, who writes the law on our hearts.

This same Holy Spirit who came mightily on Pentecost comes to us. The same Spirit is in us, by our baptism and confirmation – the same Spirit who transformed the apostles, who raises the dead, and who changes bread and wine into Christ’s Body and Blood. That same Spirit is in us, and this should give us tremendous confidence in following Christ.

The Holy Spirit, the “Lord and Giver of Life,” brings us back to our truest selves as he illumines us regarding the sanctity of life. The Spirit brings many gifts, and one of them is to enable us to see creation in its proper relationship to God – including the crowning of his creation, the gift of human life.



Come, Holy Spirit!


Back when Jesus was still traveling around the countryside with his disciples, he promised them that he would one day go to Jerusalem and there he would be betrayed, put on trial, tortured, and killed. He kept that promise. He promised that after he was killed, he would go into the ground for three days and then on the third day rise again. He kept that promise. After he had risen from the tomb, he spent several weeks appearing to the disciples, and during these visits he promised that he would ascend to the Father. He kept that promise, ascending to sit at the Father’s right hand right in front of his friends. But before he ascended, he promised that as soon as he arrived at his Father’s right hand, he would send to his friends a consoler, a teacher, an advocate – the Holy Spirit. His fulfillment of that promise is recorded in our reading from Acts this evening. The coming of the Holy Spirit upon that frightened group of men and women in the Upper Room had a purpose and an consequence, an eternal purpose and a lasting consequence. The Holy Spirit comes us to still to strengthen our purpose and to renew the consequence of His arrival that first Pentecost.

The Antidote to Babel


Genesis tells us a story of how the whole world spoke the same language, once upon a time, using the same words and vocabulary. Interestingly enough, there are scientists who claim they can trace the languages of Europe and Asia to a common language that was spoken 10,000 years ago. I found that very interesting. The people of the kingdom mentioned in the bible, however, made a fateful mistake by deciding they no longer wanted to be subjugated under God. The bible tells us that this culture was no longer content with being mere creatures. They wanted to be greater than the Creator. The government of this kingdom, to achieve this ambition, built a tower high into the sky so that they could symbolically claim superiority over God. You remember the story. Or as one of my favorite poems goes, “Their tower’s impressive statistics pleased architects, boosters and mystics. But their excess of pride caused the Lord to decide it was time that they studied linguistics.” The great city of course was Babel. Babel is where we get the word “babbling” from. It is a story about original sin, about how egotism can get in the way of our relationship with God and with others.


Dealing with Our Duality



Whether we like to admit it or not, there is a powerful duality in every one of us. We all have two opposing sides – One side is positive – and open to goodness, truth, and beauty – The other side is negative – and prone to evil, deception, and the grotesque. This duality is even manifested in the two sides of our faces. The one side is pleasant – while the other side is not! The sides of this duality are constantly at war within ourselves. They can influence everything we do – especially our relationship with others. When we finally are able to see and admit the conflict within ourself, we, very often, turn to therapy. We seek out a wise counselor. We hope that they will be able to help us discover a pathway through the internal conflict we experience. Perhaps they can see the things and the truth we are missing about ourself – They might help us to become the more integrated person we really want to be.


The journey back to hope includes humility and a shedding of arrogance

HomiliesST. LOUIS REVIEW | 2022

The feast of Pentecost celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit. If ever there was a time we needed discernment and guidance instead of our own hardheartedness, now is the time. And in some ways, we have lost our ability to listen to the Holy Spirit. We can see that because the fruits of the Holy Spirit aren’t abundantly flowing in our Christian communities or in the world. Do you see a lot of evidence of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control? St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians, chapter 5, gave us the measurements for the presence of the Holy Spirit. These fruits of the Holy Spirit should be flowing abundantly if we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit and sought the Spirit’s guidance.

We seem to have become better at arguing with one another, failing to listen to one another, stirring up trouble in each other’s lives, spending more time looking at other people’s lives rather than our own and becoming so afraid that we are hoarding objects. We are so ready to call each other names or make judgments against one another.However, this isn’t a time for panic or despair. This isn’t the first time, and probably won’t be the last, when we experience moving so far away from listening to God that we feel surrounded by uncertainty, insecurity and anxiety. For those of us who believe in God’s goodness and in the faithfulness of His promises, we always have a way back to hope. That journey back to hope includes humility and a shedding of arrogance.


Pentecost Sunday

by Fr. Patrick Riviere| 2022
Homiletic & Pastoral Review

Each year at Pentecost, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. Like we hear in the First Reading, today is the day the Spirit manifested Himself to the apostles in the upper room and moved them to preach the Gospel of Jesus to every corner of the earth. Of all the persons of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is the one who may seem most difficult to relate to, to conceptualize. God the Son is easy enough — Jesus Christ was a man who lived and taught. He concretely existed, we can read His words. God the Father, too, speaks all throughout the Scriptures. The image of a father is one that helps us to relate to that Person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit — what is He? When you see images of the Trinity, you most often see the Three Persons depicted as an older man, a younger man, and a dove. How am I supposed to relate to a bird? Or to fire? Or to water? Or to wind? The Holy Spirit can seem ambiguous, a nameless force rather than a true Person who we can relate to. So who is the Holy Spirit, and what does He do in our lives?


Outpouring of the Holy Spirit


Claret Media Cameroon

We retain from our creed that the Holy Spirit is GOD. There are different names of the Holy Spirit? “The Holy Spirit” is the proper name of the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity. Jesus also called him the Paraclete (Consoler or Advocate) and the Spirit of Truth. The New Testament also refers to him as the Spirit of Christ, of the Lord, of God – the Spirit of Glory and the Spirit of the Promise. He is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.  He is the helper sent by Jesus to teach us everything (Cf. Compendium number 138). Already, in the compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church number 47, we are made to understand that The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity. He is God, one and equal with the Father and the Son. He “proceeds from the Father” (John 15:26) who is the principle without a principle and the origin of all trinitarian life. He proceeds also from the Son (Filioque) by the eternal Gift which the Father makes of him to the Son. Sent by the Father and the Incarnate Son, the Holy Spirit guides the Church “to know all truth” (John 16:13).





When I took English class in high school, one teacher had a technique for lessons in public speaking, and I hated it. Not every day, but when you did not expect it, he would look around the room and point at one person in the class. You would have to come up front and stand facing everyone else. Then the teacher would give you a topic like “Bicycles” or “Squirrels,” and you had to give a spontaneous speech on that theme. As if that weren’t enough, when you were done, he asked everyone else in the class to criticize your presentation. The goal was to help us gain self-confidence, but it was largely an exercise in humility. You have probably had moments when in front of other people or just in conversation with someone you were on the spot to say something, and you failed to find the right words. In social media people sometimes post statements they wish they could take back. But you have probably had other moments when miraculously you said the right words. As a parent you gave spot-on advice to your child that made a difference; as an applicant you said the right things in your interview and got the job; as a suitor you spoke the words that finally won the heart of the person you loved more than anyone else. When you think about it later, you wonder, “Where did those words come from?” We may say amazing things we could never have practiced. Some people take all the credit for their brilliance. But Jesus gave the credit to another source: the Holy Spirit.

YouTube player

In the Crypt Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine: Celebrant & Homilist: Rev. Msgr. Kevin T. Hart Guest Choir: Georgetown Prep – A Cupola Hoyas, North Bethesda, MD

Featured Homilies (2019, 2016)

Please be patient
as page loads

Please be patient
as page loads

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *