Pentecost Message 2008: The Presiding Archbishop

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The Most Reverend Phillip Zimmerman , ThD RSJ

The Reformed Catholic Church

Office of the Metropolitan Archbishop

Presiding Bishop

Dear Family In Christ,

I begin this message with a passage of Sacred Scripture:

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from Heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. ACTS 2: 1-4

This passage of Sacred Scripture has always intrigued me. The Apostles and their friends were hiding in the Upper Room, waiting for the heavy hand of the Roman and Jewish Authorities to descend upon them… Instead, the powerful, loving and merciful hand of God decended upon them, opening their hearts, minds and mouths, instilling in them a sense of urgency, courage, desire and the ability to spread the Gospel of Christ.

Imagine how terrified the Apostles were. A violent wind rushed in on them in their secret hiding place. It seems that they could hide from everyone but God. They soon realized that God would always be with them, even in the most secret, dark hiding places. The gifts of the Holy Spirit that were imparted upon them gave each of the Apostles a desire to preach, to teach, to share and to live a life according to the message of Jesus, the Christ, who defied the gates of death by His resurrection! It was now their moment, their opportunity, their blessing to share this message with the people of the world. And so, they did…

We are very much like the Apostles. Like them, we sometimes try to hide away, where we think that no one will find us. Sometimes we hide because we are uncomfortable or afraid, other times because we think that we have nothing to offer or we feel that we are simply unworthy. But, in those times of doubt or fear, when we think that we are alone and safely hidden away, God makes Himself known through the working of Holy Spirit.

The Workings of the Holy Spirit are not always a cinematic experience. There might not be a rushing wind or a flame dancing over our head, but there just might experience a moment of epiphany that abruptly and forever awakens our soul, re-ignites our passion to serve the Lord and puts us into action. What a wonderful, life changing moment that is!

As Clergy and Faithful, we are called to follow Christ and to spread His message! The Apostles, our fathers in faith, were given the gift of speaking in tongues, so that they could spread the Gospel around the world. But, to me, what is more important than spoken language is action. The Apostles recognized this fact, and so they demonstrated their love of Christ through their actions. Emulating the examples of the Apostles, St. Francis of Assisi urged us to teach and preach the Gospel, and if necessary, to use words… It is not our words alone, but our words combined with our actions, our works of love, that demonstrate that we are truly followers of Christ. In today’s busy world, far too often, lovely words are used to replace meaningful acts of charity, love, or hope. We mean to do more, but we get caught up on our busy lives and forget to do good works. However, as Christians, we cannot allow ourselves to become people of words alone. As St. John reminds us, faith without works is dead.

It is my prayer that this Pentecost, your soul will be re-awakened and that your passion for service to God’s people is renewed! The Gospel Message of Jesus the Christ is waiting for you to share with the world. Fear not, do not hide, understand the abilities given to you by God. Then step into the light of day and choose to be a Herald of the Good News! A world of people is waiting for you!

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and renew the face of the Earth!

May God bless and inspire you all.

Your brother in Christ,

++Phillip Zimmerman, RSJ
Presiding Bishop

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