From a Homily on Pentecost

Chicago reinvented itself in the latter half of the 20th century. The city went from an agro-industrial to a "knowledge" economy. Whereas cities like Detroit and Pittsburgh, based on the automobile or steal industry, were unable to recreate themselves when those industries declined, Chicago was able to do so. Gone were the meat-packing plants and warehouses, replaced by skyscrapers offering financial and legal services. Chicago has continued to renew itself, becoming a global economy, and hopefully will continue to do so.

Families renew themselves too. When children move away to college and then out of the house to work and marry, empty-nester parents renew themselves. When a child or young adult can no longer play organized sports, they find other interests to stay engaged.

Today, the Feast of Pentecost, is the great day of renewal. When the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles, they were transformed. They went from a motley group of indecisive and disloyal fisherman to bold proclaimers of the Good News. Even the feast of Pentecost itself was transformed. Pentecost was originally a Jewish holiday, occurring 50 days after Passover and meant to celebrate the harvest. Then the Israelites celebrated on this day not so much the harvest but the date when the Torah was given to Moses on Sinai. That, by the way, is why, on Pentecost 33AD, all the different nationalities were gathered in Jerusalem: it was required to make a pilgrimage to the holy city.

Renewal. Seen in the celebration of Pentecost, the apostles, families, and the city of Chicago. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, enkindle in them the fire of your live; send forth your Spirit and they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth.

back to top