The feast today is called Pentecost. Pentecost is the third Glorious Mystery, the descent of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is an event that happened 2,000 years ago, but Pentecost is not just an event. Pentecost is also a promise. It is a promise that the Holy Spirit did not only come to the Church 2,000 years ago. It is a promise that the Holy Spirit continues to visit the Church, continues to stay in the Church, and continues to work in the Church. About 2,000 years ago, there was sadness because the Lord left, but the Holy Spirit continues to work. And now, my dear brothers and sisters, amid the COVID situation facing the entire world, what do we urgently need from the Holy Spirit because of COVID? Three “Fs” so you will remember.
The first “F” is Fear. There are three demons affecting us right now…and the whole world! The first is the demon of sadness, the second is the demon of anger, and the third is the demon of fear. Sadness because many have died. Sadness because we are not normal. Sadness because many are sick. Sadness because many are jobless and many are hungry. If you feel sad, you may cry. It will ease your sadness. If you are angry, shout! If you are angry, hit a punching bag—hurt it, stab it, hit it. Your anger will be lessened. That’s wrong! Do not do that. That is the outlet of our anger. But sadness and anger are not like fear. You know why? Because if you have fear and you cry, you’re still afraid. If you fear… if you have fear and then you shout, you’re still afraid! In other words, there is no outlet for fear. Sadness has an outlet. Anger has an outlet. But for fear, we get paralyzed. With fear, we do not know what to do. With fear, we hide. So how shall we face our fears? Only one way, my dear brothers and sisters. Name it. Name your fear. Because if you name your fear, you will be able to endure it. The fear will not disappear; but if you name your fear, you will know the enemy and because you know the enemy, you will be better prepared to handle it. Name your fear.
You are afraid to die, afraid to be fooled, afraid to get sick, afraid to be abandoned, afraid to be alone, afraid to be hungry, afraid to be run over, afraid to be caught by the police, afraid to be bashed in social media. We have many fears, but name your fear because when you name your fear, you are already one step forward in fighting it. Name your fear. So today on Pentecost, we ask the Holy Spirit, “Lord, help us to name our fears. We might not be able to remove the symptoms, we might not be able to remove the causes, but at least Lord, name our fears for us because when we have the truth, the truth will take care of our fears.”
The second “F” is Focus. So fear, then focus. What do we mean by focus? There is right and there is wrong. Focus because today we are so confused. Is it okay to tell a lie? Is it okay to kill? Is it okay to steal? But not only that, those who tell the truth are ridiculed. Those who strive to follow God’s commandments are suffering. There is good, there is evil, and we are getting confused. Imagine what we learned in high school.
Didn’t we learn that electricity has positive and negative charges? If we have electricity and you put the positive and negative together, what will happen? Short circuit and possibly fire. And that is what is happening to our world. We are interchanging good and evil. We are calling evil, good and we are calling good, evil. Do you remember the book of Genesis? The Lord told our first parents, you can eat, you can touch all the trees except the Tree of Good and Evil. Do not touch it! But our first parents touched the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil. And what happened? Confusion! What happened? Sin!
Brothers and sisters, this is what is happening in the world. Why? Because men and women want to know and want to decide what is good and what is evil. This cannot happen because deciding evil and good is the prerogative of God. It is not the prerogative of men and women to say what is good and what is evil because what is good and what is evil belongs to God! And when men and women claim the right to say this is possible, this is not possible, this is bad, this is good, the question is—Is this what God also says? Because if this is not what God says, there will be a short circuit in Pangasinan, a short circuit in Dagupan because we are interchanging positive and negative.
So today, Pentecost, as we come face-to-face with COVID-19, we pray to the Holy Spirit: Holy Spirit, teach us what is good and teach us what is bad. Holy Spirit, teach us what is wrong and teach us what is right. And we will not allow anyone or anything to ever teach us what is good and what is right, dear Lord, because what is good and what is right belongs to You.
The Lord said in the Bible, “Do not eat from the Tree of Good and Evil.” There are many trees that are not cut. Many trees have been planted. But the Tree of Good and Evil is always cut. We do not want the Tree of Good and Evil to grow and we just put up the tree ourselves and we decide what is bad and what is good. For as long as we do this, the world will be on short circuit and the world will be on fire, not with the fire of the Holy Spirit but with the fire of hell! Focus and ask the Holy Spirit to teach us what is good and evil because only God can teach us what is good and evil.
The first is fear. The second is focus. The third “F” is Future. Future. Are we still capable of looking at the future? Do you notice what we are waiting for? Do you wish that the quarantine would be eased? Do you wish a vaccine would be invented? The future we look forward to is short. Is that all our future is about? Vaccine? China? India? Italy? Is that it? Does our future depend on the mayor, the governor, or the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) on when the quarantine will be lifted? Is that it? My dear brothers and sisters, the scientist can give us the vaccine, the government can determine our quarantine, but if you ask the Holy Spirit, “Holy Spirit, show us our future,” the Holy Spirit will show you life everlasting. The Holy Spirit will show you that the future is not about vaccines and quarantines. The Holy Spirit will show you that the future is about life everlasting.
COVID-19 has challenged our belief in a bright future because we have become short-sighted, narrow-sighted, myopic, even blind. So we ask the Holy Spirit not just for the vaccine, not just for a lower quarantine. We ask the Holy Spirit, “Holy Spirit, COVID has made us afraid, help us to name our fears. Holy Spirit, COVID has caused our short circuit, we are getting confused with right and wrong. Holy Spirit, we look forward not just for vaccine, but to life everlasting.” If you ask the Holy Spirit to come to you, the Holy Spirit will teach you.
Being infected is not the worst that could happen to you. Dying from COVID is not the worst thing that could happen to you. The worst that can happen to us is to fall out of the grace of God. The worst that can happen to us is eternal damnation instead of life everlasting. Holy Spirit, we are afraid. Name our fears for us and we will be able to endure. Holy Spirit, we are confused and out of focus, show us what is right and what is wrong. In spite of the surveys, in spite of the numbers, in spite of the votes, only You can teach us what is right and what is wrong, not surveys, not popularity, not opinion. Holy Spirit, lead us into the future. Not just the future with vaccines and no more quarantine. Lead us into the future of life everlasting because the worst that can happen to us is not death or sickness. The worst that can happen to us is to live in sin. The worst that can happen to us is to go to hell. Holy Spirit, increase our hope; increase our truth; increase our faith. Holy Spirit, come.