Bread In The Wilderness

Father Carl Diederichs

Parish Priest



Pentecost Sunday


My Sisters and Brothers, the scripture readings assigned for Pentecost this year are: Acts 2: 1-11, Romans 8: 8-17, and John 14: 15-16, 23b-26. The message of all three readings is clear: The Holy Spirit fills all Christians and all become children of God and the same Holy Spirit teaches all. We often call this Feast the Birthday of the Church. We no longer hide behind locked doors, but we boldly preach Good News to the people.


The reading from Acts shows us the reversal of the story of Babel in Genesis, when the building of the stairway to heaven was thwarted by causing people to no longer understand each other. The building stopped. Here, in Acts, the fact that people spoke different languages didn’t thwart the preaching of Good News to every language, every people. The whole world could now understand the preaching of Good News of salvation.


Paul reminds us that the gift of the Holy Spirit gives us life. “If the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.”


John has Jesus say that the Father will give us an “Advocate” once He leaves us. And that Spirit will be with us forever.


To do what? Certainly the Spirit is not for our own keeping. The “Jesus and me forever and ever” fallacy is not why Jesus came into this world. Yes, personal devotion is necessary and helps deepen our love of Jesus. But the only way we can truly love, however, is to give it away. The more we really believe we are loved by God, the more we will be urged to share that love.


I think one of the best representatives of how God’s love works is Pope Francis. You can tell that he knows deep down that a merciful and forgiving God loves him. And he is forced then to give that love away, especially to the poor and those now displaced from their homeland by war and genocide. Pope Francis gets it after a life of trying to figure it out, just as we have to do.


Since this blog is written for the Milwaukee Community Journal, let me speak to my sisters and brothers in Milwaukee. You have your work cut out for you. The amount of violent crime, the amount of poverty and lack of hope that exists sometimes not too far from your own home, needs the love of God as only you can deliver it. Get involved. The issue of police-community relations, unbelievable numbers of African Americans still in Wisconsin prisons, Black Lives Matter, failing schools, and just huge numbers of poor and homeless people, all come under the urgent call to love and help make things right.


Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the great gift given to us at our Baptism and Confirmation, we are equipped to bring Good News to those who now seem to have none.


Happy Birthday Church!