St. Thomas Aquinas gave an excellent Pentecost homily. Click here.
Here is a less worthy attempt… (But shorter at least!)
Come, Holy Spirit! On our dryness pour your dew.
We live by holding fast to the doctrines of our Catholic faith. At the same time, we also see visible signs of the mysteries we believe in. Let us try to understand how the mystery of Pentecost fits into the annual rites of spring.
First, the basic facts: The Lord Jesus died on the cross. On the third day, He rose again. He remained on earth for forty days. Then He ascended into heaven. The Apostles prayed. Then Christ poured out the Holy Spirit.
This sequence of events teaches us that the Lord Jesus did not conquer death just for His own sake. Before He became man in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, He already enjoyed undying life. From all eternity, He is true God from true God—one eternal God with the Father.
So Christ did not need to rise from the dead for His own sake. Rather, He rose from the dead for us. He rose from the dead to be the first-fruits of our resurrection.
So, we take two fundamental things on faith:
1. Jesus Christ rose from the dead. We have not seen Him. But the Apostles saw Him, and we believe the testimony the Apostles left behind.
2. We believe that our own bodily deaths will be temporary, too. In the end, we will rise again, like Christ rose again.
The fundamental truth about our lives is therefore something we believe, not something we see. We believe in the final consummation of the world, the coming of Christ the Judge, eternal glory for the just, and eternal damnation for the unjust.
We live by this faith in the unseen future. What we do see, though—what we see in the springtime gives us a clear sign of what is to come.
Every spring, the earth brings forth new life. What was dead rises again. What had gone down into the soil as a seed emerges as a living flower. The unseen power of nature brings about an annual resurrection of everything that is green and fragrant.
The fauna, too, are renewed. Chicks hatch. Horses foal. Individual animals die and go to oblivion, but their species live on, resurrected by nature’s power.
Now, if we are going to try and understand Pentecost, we have to ask ourselves: What is the great secret ingredient of the annual resurrection of the earth? What is it that makes spring spring?
The answer is: Water. Water makes the springtime resurrection of nature’s life occur. Nature pours water onto the soil, and the moistening dew wakes the sleeping power of life.
Now of course we are greater than all the plants. We are greater than all the animals. All of them are made for us. They are beautiful, and we cannot do without them. But their lives are puny and passing compared to ours.
God does not cultivate us nor breed us for annual regeneration. We are not little creatures that cycle through simple routines for the sake of higher creatures. Tomato plants go through a cycle so that we can eat their fruits. Worms go through a cycle so that we can bait fish hooks with them.
We, however, are not food for any other creature. No—we are the ultimate fruit of the earth. We are the reason why the earth exists. God cultivates us to bear our fruit once and for all. Our springtime is the eternal day, when everything is fulfilled, time is complete, the devil is altogether subdued, and eternal glory fills the earth. The fruit of the human race will be ripe when the new Jerusalem descends like a bride from heaven.
To come out of the earth and flower on that day, we need water of an altogether different kind than the plants and animals need. Nature has her annual resurrection by dew every spring. But for our eternal resurrection, we need the dew of truth. We live by the water of life which flows from Christ in heaven. We are watered not by water, but by the Holy Spirit and fire.
Pentecost is the day of spring rain for Christian souls. So we pray. Lord, rain down your holy dew on us! We are the seeds you have sewn in Your garden. Pull out your garden hose, and water us down—until the gullies and rivulets in our souls are gushing. We want puddles and puddles of your dew in our hearts. Rain down your grace on us, O God. Send your Holy Spirit. On our dryness, pour your dew.
P.S. Oh, look. They are going to perform George Bernard Shaw’s “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” at the Folger Shakespeare Theater!
But wait. “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” is…
2. Not even remotely by Shakespeare.
Who put the fifteen-year-olds in charge of our Shakespeare Theater? Thank God for the Hamlet at the Library. Your friend would be one depressed dude if Sidney Harmon Hall were the only place a Shakespeare devotee could go…