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Pentecost Sunday

May 9, 2021

The Pentecost (No. 39 Scenes from the Life of Christ: 23. Pentecost)

Giotto di Bondone
1304-06
Fresco, 200 x 185 cm
Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua


 

 

Apostle Peter Preaching

Lorenzo Veneziano

c. 1370
Poplar panel, 24 x 33 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

 


 

Catholic Spiritual Direction.com

The Action of the Holy Spirit

May 24, 2015 by Dan Burke

Holy SpiritKarlskircheFrescosHeiligerGeist2
Presence of God – O Holy Spirit, make me realize Your action in my soul; teach me to recognize it and correspond with it.

MEDITATION

Just as the Holy Spirit dwelt in the most holy soul of Christ in order to bring it to God, so He abides in our souls for the same purpose. In Jesus He found a completely docile will, one that He could control perfectly, whereas in us He often meets resistance, the fruit of human weakness; therefore, He desists from the work of our sanctification because He will not do violence to our liberty. He, the Spirit of love, waits for us to cooperate lovingly in His work, yielding our soul to His sanctifying action freely and ardently. In order to become saints, we must concur in the work of the Holy Spirit; but since effective concurrence is impossible without an understanding of the promoter’s actions, it is necessary for us to learn how the divine Paraclete, the promoter of our sanctification, works in us.

We must realize that the Holy Spirit is ever active in our souls, from the earliest stages of the spiritual life and even from its very beginning, although at that time in a more hidden and imperceptible way. However, His very precious action was there, and it consisted especially in the preparing and encouraging of our first attempts to acquire perfection. By giving us grace, without which we could have done nothing to attain sanctity, the Holy Spirit inaugurated His work in us: He elevated us to the supernatural state. Grace comes from God; it is a gift from all three Persons of the Blessed Trinity: a gift created by the Father, merited by the Son in consequence of His Incarnation, Passion, and death, and diffused in our souls by the Holy Spirit. But it is to the latter, to the Spirit of love, that the work of our sanctification is attributed in a very special manner. When we were baptized, we were justified “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”; nevertheless, Sacred Scripture particularly attributes this work of regeneration and divine filiation to the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself pointed out to us that Baptism is a rebirth “of … the Holy Spirit” (Jn 3:5), and St. Paul stated: “For in one Spirit were we all baptized” and “the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God” (1 Cor 12:13; Rom 8:16). Therefore, it is the Holy Spirit who has prepared and disposed our souls for the supernatural life by pouring forth grace in us.

COLLOQUY

“O Holy Spirit, divine Guest of our souls, You are the noblest and most worthy of all guests! With the agility of Your goodness and love for us, You fly rapidly to all souls who are disposed to receive You. And who can tell the wonderful effects produced by You when You are welcomed? You speak, but without noise of words, and Your sublime silence is heard everywhere. You are always motionless, yet always in movement, and in Your mobile immobility, You communicate Yourself to all. You are always at rest, yet ever working; and in Your rest You perform the greatest, worthiest, and most admirable works. You are always moving, but You never change Your place. You penetrate, strengthen, and preserve all. Your immense, penetrating omniscience knows all, understands all, penetrates all. Without listening to anything, You hear the least word spoken in the most secret recesses of hearts.

“O Holy Spirit, You stay everywhere unless You are driven out, because You communicate Yourself to everyone, except to sinners who do not want to rise from the mire of their sins; in them You can find no place to rest, nor can You endure the evil emanating from a heart which obstinately persists in wrong-doing. But You remain in the creatures who, by their purity, make themselves receptive to Your gifts. And You rest in me by communication, operation, wisdom, power, liberality, benignity, charity, love, purity; in short, by Your very goodness. Diffusing these graces in Your creature, You Yourself prepare him suitably to receive You” (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).


A Christian Pilgrim

THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS COME

(A biblical refection on the PENTECOST SUNDAY, 24 May 2015) 

First Reading: Acts 2:1-11 

Psalms: Psalm 104:1,24,29-34; Second Reading: Galatians 5:16-25; Gospel Reading: John 15:26-27; 16:12-15 

Pentecost3

 

 


A Christian PilgrimPENTECOST: JESUS’ PROMISE FULFILLED


A Christian PilgrimHOLY SPIRIT THE COMFORTER HAS COME


Expecting the Unexpected

Dr. Mark Giszczak

Pentecost
First Reading: Acts 2:1-11
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052415-pentecost-day.cfm

 


Scripture Speaks: Receive the Holy Spirit

Gayle Somers

On Resurrection Day, Jesus breathed on His disciples, a gesture odd in itself but packed with meaning for our celebration of Pentecost today.


Pentecost Sunday – Mass during the Day

Reading 1 Acts 2:1-11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34 

  1. (cf. 30)Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

    or:

    R.Alleluia.

    Bless the LORD, O my soul!

    O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!

    How manifold are your works, O LORD!

    the earth is full of your creatures;

    R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

    or:

    R. Alleluia.

    May the glory of the LORD endure forever;

    may the LORD be glad in his works!

    Pleasing to him be my theme;

    I will be glad in the LORD.

    R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

    or:

    R. Alleluia.

    If you take away their breath, they perish

    and return to their dust.

    When you send forth your spirit, they are created,

    and you renew the face of the earth.

    R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

    or:

    R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13

Brothers and sisters:
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.

As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

or

Gal 5:16-25

Brothers and sisters, live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry,
sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,
dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,
drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh
with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

Sequence

Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.
Alleluia.

Alleluia

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.

    Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful

    and kindle in them the fire of your love.

    R.Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

or

Jn 15:26-27; 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.

“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”


 

From: Acts 2:1-11

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

[1] When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
[2] And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind,
and it filled all the house where they were sitting. [3] And there appeared to
them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. [4] And
they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues,
as the Spirit gave them utterance.

[5] Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation
under heaven. [6] And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were
bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. [7]
And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are spea-
king Galileans? [8] And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native lan-
guage? [9] Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia,
Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, [10] Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt
and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews
and proselytes, [11] Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own
tongues the mighty works of God.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

1-13. This account of the Holy Spirit visibly coming down on the disciples who, in
keeping with Jesus’ instructions, had stayed together in Jerusalem, gives limited
information as to the time and place of the event, yet it is full of content. Pente-
cost was one of the three great Jewish feasts for which many Israelites went on
pilgrimage to the Holy City to worship God in the temple. It originated as a har-
vest thanksgiving, with an offering of first-fruits. Later it was given the additional
dimension of commemorating the promulgation of the Law given by God to Mo-
ses on Sinai. The Pentecost celebration was held fifty days after the Passover,
that is, after seven weeks had passed. The material harvest which the Jews ce
lebrated so joyously became, through God’s providence, the symbol of the spi-
ritual harvest which the Apostles began to reap on this day.

2-3. Wind and fire were elements which typically accompanied manifestations of
God in the Old Testament (cf. Ex 3:2; l 3:21-22; 2 Kings 5:24; Ps 104:3). In this
instance, as Chrysostom explains, it would seem that separate tongues of fire
came down on each of them: they were “separated, which means they came from
one and the same source, to show that the Power all comes from the Paraclete”
(”Hom. on Acts”, 4). The wind and the noise must have been so intense that they
caused people to flock to the place. The fire symbolizes the action of the Holy
Spirit who, by enlightening the minds of the disciples, enables them to under-
stand Jesus’s teachings—as Jesus promised at the Last Supper (cf. Jn 16:4-14);
by inflaming their hearts with love he dispels their fear and moves them to preach
boldly. Fire also has a purifying effect, God’s action cleansing the soul of all trace
of sin.

  1. Pentecost was not an isolated event in the life of the Church, something over

    and done with. “We have the right, the duty and the joy to tell you that Pentecost

    is still happening. We can legitimately speak of the ‘lasting value’ of Pentecost.

    We know that fifty days after Easter, the Apostles, gathered together in the same

    Cenacle as had been used for the first Eucharist and from which they had gone

    out to meet the Risen One for the first time, “discover” in themselves the power

    of the Holy Spirit who descended upon them, the strength of Him whom the Lord

    had promised so often as the outcome of his suffering on the Cross; and streng-

    thened in this way, they began to act, that is, to perform their role. [. . .] Thus is

    born the “apostolic Church”. But even today—and herein the continuity lies — the

    Basilica of St Peter in Rome and every Temple, every Oratory, every place where

    the disciples of the Lord gather, is an extension of that original Cenacle” (Bl. John

    Paul II, “Homily”, 25 May 1980).

Vatican II (cf. “Ad gentes”, 4) quotes St Augustine’s description of the Holy Spi-
rit as the soul, the source of life, of the Church, which was born on the Cross on
Good Friday and whose birth was announced publicly on the day of Pentecost:
“Today, as you know, the Church was fully born, through the breath of Christ,
the Holy Spirit; and in the Church was born the Word, the witness to and promu-
lgation of salvation in the risen Jesus; and in him who listens to this promulgation
is born faith, and with faith a new life, an awareness of the Christian vocation and
the ability to hear that calling and to follow it by living a genuinely human life, in-
deed a life which is not only human but holy. And to make this divine intervention
effective, today was born the apostolate, the priesthood, the ministry of the Spirit,
the calling to unity, fraternity and peace” (Paul VI, “Address”, 25 May 1969).

“Mary, who conceived Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit, the Love of the living
God, presides over the birth of the Church, on the day of Pentecost, when the
same Holy Spirit comes down on the disciples and gives life to the mystical bo-
dy of Christians in unity and charity” (Paul VI, “Address”, 25 October 1969).

5-11. In his account of the events of Pentecost St Luke distinguishes “devout
men” (v. 5), Jews and proselytes (v. 11). The first-mentioned were people who
were residing in Jerusalem for reasons of study or piety, to be near the only tem-
ple the Jews had. They were Jews—not to be confused with “God-fearing men”,
that is, pagans sympathetic to Judaism, who worshipped the God of the Bible
and who, if they became converts and members of the Jewish religion by being
circumcised and by observing the Mosaic Law, were what were called “prose-
lytes”, whom Luke distinguishes from the “Jews”, that is, those of Jewish race.

People of different races and tongues understand Peter, each in his or her own
language. They can do so thanks to a special grace from the Holy Spirit given
them for the occasion; this is not the same as the gift of “speaking with tongues”
which some of the early Christians had (cf. 1 Cor 14), which allowed them to
praise God and speak to him in a language which they themselves did not
understand.

  1. When the Fathers of the Church comment on this passage they frequently

    point to the contrast between the confusion of languages that came about at Ba-

    bel (cf. Gen 11:1-9)—God’s punishment for man’s pride and infidelity — and the re-

    versal of this confusion on the day of Pentecost, thanks to the grace of the Holy

    Spirit. The Second Vatican Council stresses the same idea: “Without doubt, the

    Holy Spirit was at work in the world before Christ was glorified. On the day of

    Pentecost, however, he came down on the disciples that he might remain with

    them forever (cf. Jn 14;16); on that day the Church was openly displayed to the

    crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was

    begun. Finally, on that day was foreshadowed the union of all peoples in the ca-

    tholicity of the faith by means of the Church of the New Alliance, a Church which

    speaks every language, understands and embraces all tongues in charity, and

    thus overcomes the dispersion of Babel” (”Ad Gentes”, 4).

Christians need this gift for their apostolic activity and should ask the Holy Spirit
to give it to them to help them express themselves in such a way that others can
understand their message; to be able so to adapt what they say to suit the out-
look and capacity of their hearers, that they pass Christ’s truth on: “Every gene-
ration of Christians needs to redeem, to sanctify, its own time. To do this, it must
understand and share the desires of other men — their equals — in order to make
known to them, with a ‘gift of tongues’, how they are to respond to the action of
the Holy Spirit, to that permanent outflow of rich treasures that comes from our
Lord’s heart. We Christians are called upon to announce, in our own time, to this
world to which we belong and in which we live, the message — old and at the
same time new — of the Gospel” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 132).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

From: Galatians 5:16-25

The Fruits of the Spirit and the Works of the Flesh (Continuation)

[16] But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.
[17] For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the
Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you
from doing what you would. [18] But if you are led by the Spirit you are not un-
der the law. [19] Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, impurity, li-
centiousness, [20] idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness,
dissension, party spirit, [21] envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn
you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the
kingdom of God. [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kind-
ness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, self-control; against such there is
no law. [24] And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with
its passions and desires. [25] If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the
Spirit.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

17-21. The fall of Adam and Eve left us with a tendency to seek created things
for our own pleasure, instead of using them to lead us to God. The desires of
the flesh make their appearance, urges which are at odds with God and with all
that is noble in our personality. But when grace enters our soul and justifies us,
we share in the fruits of the Redemption wrought by Christ and we are enabled
to conquer our concupiscence and life according to the flesh.

The vices referred to in vv. 19-21 have their roots in something much deeper—life
“of the flesh”. And, St Augustine asserts, “it is said that someone lives according
to the flesh when he lives for himself. Therefore, in this case, by ‘flesh’ is meant
the whole person. For everything which stems from a disordered love of oneself
is called work of the flesh” (”The City of God”, 14, 2).

This is why we find included in the “works of the flesh” not only sins of impurity
(v. 19) and faults of temperance (v. 21 ) but also sins against the virtues of reli-
gion and fraternal charity (v. 20).

“Significantly, when speaking of ‘the works of the flesh’ Paul mentions not only
‘immorality [fornication], impurity, licentiousness […], drunkenness, carousing’—
all of which objectively speaking are connected with the flesh; he also names
other sins which we do not usually put in the ‘carnal’ or ‘sexual’ category —
‘idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, envy’ […]. All these sins are
the outcome of ‘life according to the flesh’, which is the opposite to ‘life accor-
ding to the spirit”’ (John Paul 11, “Address”, 7 January 1981).

Therefore, as the Apostle says, anyone who in one way or other obstinately per-
sists in his sin will not be able to enter the Kingdom of heaven (cf. 1 Cor 6:9-10;
Eph 5:5).

22-25. When someone lets himself be led by his instincts he is said to be lea-
ding an “animal life”; whereas, if he acts as his reason advises, he is leading a
rational, human, life. Similarly, when one allows the Holy Spirit to act, one’s life
becomes life according to the Spirit—a supernatural life, a life which is no longer
simply human but divine. This is what happens when a person is in the state of
grace and is mindful of the treasure he bears within.

“Alone! You are not alone. We are keeping you close company from afar. Be-
sides…, the Holy Spirit, living in your soul in grace—God with you—is giving a
supernatural tone to all your thoughts, desires and actions” (St. J. Escriva,
“The Way”, 273).

The soul then becomes a good tree which is known by its fruits. Its actions re-
veal the presence of the Paraclete, and because of the spiritual delight they give
the soul, these actions are called fruits of the Holy Spirit (cf. St Thomas Aquinas,
Summa theologiae, I-II, q. 70, a. 1).

“Those blessed fruits enumerated by the Apostle (Gal 5:22) the Spirit produces
and shows forth in the just, even in this mortal life—fruits replete with all sweet-
ness and joy. Such must, indeed, be from the Spirit ‘who in the Trinity is the love
of the Father and the Son, filling all creatures with immeasurable sweetness’ (St
Augustine, “De Trinitate”, 6, 9)” (Leo XIII, “Divinum illud munus”, 12).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

From: 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13

Kinds of Spiritual Gifts

[3] Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God
ever says “Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the
Holy Spirit.

[4] Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; [5] and there are varieties
of service, but the same Lord; [6] and there are varieties of working, but it is the
same God who inspires them all in every one. [7] To each is given the manifes-
tation of the Spirit for the common good.

Unity and Variety in the Mystical Body of Christ

[12] For just as the body is one and has many member, and all the members of
the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. [13] For by one Spirit
we were all baptized into one body Jews or Greeks, slaves or free and all were
made to drink of one Spirit.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

  1. This provides a general principle for discerning signs of the Holy Spirit — re-

    cognition of Christ as Lord. It follows that the gifts of the Holy Spirit can never

    go against the teaching of the Church. “Those who have charge over the Church

    should judge the genuineness and proper use of these gifts […], not indeed to ex-

    tinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good (cf. Thess

    5:12 and 19-21)” (”Lumen Gentium”, 12).

4-7. God is the origin of spiritual gifts. Probably when St Paul speaks of gifts, ser-
vice (ministries), “varieties of working”, he is not referring to graces which are es-
sentially distinct from one another, but to different perspectives from which these
gifts can be viewed, and to their attribution to the Three Divine Persons. Insofar
as they are gratuitously bestowed they are attributed to the Holy Spirit, as he
confirms in v. 11; insofar as they are granted for the benefit and service of the
other members of the Church, they are attributed to Christ the Lord, who came
“not to be served but to serve” (Mk 10:45); and insofar as they are operative and
produce a good effect, they are attributed to God the Father. In this way the va-
rious graces which the members of the Church receive are a living reflection of
God who, being essentially one, in so is a trinity of persons. “The whole Church
has the appearance of a people gathered together by virtue of the unity of the Fa-
ther and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (St Cyprian, “De Dominica Oratione”,
23). Therefore, diversity of gifts and graces is as important as their basic unity,
because all have the same divine origin and the same purpose — the common
good (v. 7): “It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and
ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the
faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of
the Church’s unity. By distributing various kinds of spiritual gifts and ministries
he enriches the Church of Jesus Christ with different functions ‘in order to equip
the saints for the work of service, so as to build up the body of Christ’ (Eph 4:12)”
(Vatican II, “Unitatis Redintegratio”, 2).

12-13. In Greek and Latin literature, society is often compared to a body; even
today we talk of “corporations”, a term which conveys the idea that all the citi-
zens of a particular city are responsible for the common good. St Paul, starting
with this metaphor, adds two important features: 1) he identifies the Church with
Christ: “so it is with Christ” (v. 12); and 2) he says that the Holy Spirit is its life-
principle: “by one Spirit we were all baptized…, and all made to drink of the Spi-
rit” (v. 13). The Magisterium summarizes this teaching by defining the Church as
the “mystical body of Christ”, an expression which “is derived from and is, as it
were, the fair flower of the repeated teaching of Sacred Scripture and the holy
Fathers” (Pius XII, “Mystici Corporis”).

“So it is with Christ”: “One would have expected him to say, so it is with the
Church, but he does not say that […]. For, just as the body and the head are one
man, so too Christ and the Church are one, and therefore instead of ‘the Church’
he says ‘Christ”’ (Chrysostom, “Hom. on 1 Cor”, 30, “ad loc”.). This identification
of the Church with Christ is much more than a mere metaphor; it makes the
Church a society which is radically different from any other society: “The complete
Christ is made up of the head and the body, as I am sure you know well. The head
is our Savior himself, who suffered under Pontius Pilate and now, after rising from
the dead, is seated at the right hand of the Father. And his body is the Church.
Not this or that church, but the Church which is to be found all over the world. Nor
is it only that which exists among us today, for also belonging to it are those who
lived before us and those who will live in the future, right up to the end of the world.
All this Church, made up of the assembly of the faithful — for all the faithful are
members of Christ — has Christ as its head, governing his body from heaven. And
although this head is located out of sight of the body, he is, however, joined to it
by love” (St Augustine, “Enarrationes in Psalmos”, 56, 1).

The Church’s remarkable unity derives from the Holy Spirit who not only assem-
bles the faithful into a society but also imbues and vivifies its members, exercising
the same function as the soul does in a physical body: “In order that we might be
unceasingly renewed in him (cf. Eph 4:23), he has shared with us his Spirit who,
being one and the same in head and members, gives life to, unifies and moves the
whole body. Consequently, his work could be compared by the Fathers to the fun-
ction that the principle of life, the soul, fulfils in the human body” (Vatican II, “Lu-
men Gentium”, 7).

“All were made to drink of one Spirit”: given that the Apostle says this immedia-
tely after mentioning Baptism, he seems to be referring to a further outpouring of
the Holy Spirit, possibly in the sacrament of Confirmation. It is not uncommon for
Sacred Scripture to compare the outpouring of the Spirit to drink, indicating that
the effects of his presence are to revive the parched soul; in the Old Testament
the coming of the Holy Spirit is already compared to dew, rain, etc.; and St. John
repeats what our Lord said about “living water” (Jn 7:38; cf. 4:13-14).

Together with the sacraments of Christian initiation, the Eucharist plays a special
role in building up the unity of the body of Christ. “Really sharing in the body of
the Lord in the breaking of the eucharistic bread, we are taken up into communion
with him and with one another. ‘Because the bread is one, we, who are many, are
one body, for we all partake of one bread’ (1 Cor 10:17). In this way all of us are
made members of his body (cf. 1 Cor 12:27), ‘and individual members of one ano-
ther’ (Rom 12:5)” (”Lumen Gentium”, 7).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

From: John 20:19-23

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

[19] On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors shut where
the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and
said to them, “Peace be with you.” [20] When He had said this, He showed them
His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
[21] Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me,
even so I send you.” [22] And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and
said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive the sins of any, they are
forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

19-20. Jesus appears to the Apostles on the evening of the day of which He rose.
He presents Himself in their midst without any need for the doors to be opened,
by using the qualities of His glorified body; but in order to dispel any impression
that He is only a spirit He shows them His hands and His side: there is no lon-
ger any doubt about its being Jesus Himself, about His being truly risen from the
dead. He greets them twice using the words of greeting customary among the
Jews, with the same tenderness as He previously used put into this salutation.
These friendly words dispel the fear and shame the Apostles must have been
feeling at behaving so disloyally during His passion: He has created the normal
atmosphere of intimacy, and now He will endow them with transcendental po-
wers.

  1. Pope Leo XIII explained how Christ transferred His own mission to the Apos-

    tles: “What did He wish in regard to the Church founded, or about to be founded?

    This: to transmit to it the same mission and the same mandate which He had re-

    ceived from the Father, that they should be perpetuated. This He clearly resolved

    to do: this He actually did. ‘As the Father hath sent Me, even so I send you’ (John

    20:21). ‘As Thou didst send Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world’

    (John 17:18). […] When about to ascend into Heaven, He sends His Apostles in

    virtue of the same power by which He had been sent from the Father; and He

    charges them to spread abroad and propagate His teachings (cf. Matthew 28:18),

    so that those obeying the Apostles might be saved, and those disobeying should

    perish (cf. Mark 16:16). […] Hence He commands that the teaching of the Apos-

    tles should be religiously accepted and piously kept as if it were His own: ‘He who

    hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me’ (Luke 10:16). Wherefore

    the Apostles are ambassadors of Christ as He is the ambassador of the Father”

    (Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”). In this mission the bishops are the successors of

    the Apostles: “Christ sent the Apostles as He Himself had been sent by the Fa-

    ther, and then through the Apostles made their successors, the bishops, sharers

    in His consecration and mission. The function of the bishops’ ministry was han-

    ded over in a subordinate degree to priests so that they might be appointed in

    the order of the priesthood and be co-workers of the episcopal order for the pro-

    per fulfillment of the apostolic mission that had been entrusted to it by Christ”

    (Vatican II, “Presbyterorum Ordinis”, 2).

22-23. The Church has always understood—and has in fact defined—that Jesus
Christ here conferred on the Apostles authority to forgive sins, a power which is
exercised in the Sacrament of Penance. “The Lord then especially instituted the
Sacrament of Penance when, after being risen from the dead, He breathed upon
His disciples and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit…’ The consensus of all the Fa-
thers has always acknowledged that by this action so sublime and words so
clear the power of forgiving and retaining sins was given to the Apostles and
their lawful successors for reconciling the faithful who have fallen after Baptism”
(Council of Trent, “De Paenitentia”, Chapter 1).

The Sacrament of Penance is the most sublime expression of God’s love and
mercy towards men, described so vividly in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son (cf.
Luke 15:11-32). The Lord always awaits us, with His arms wide open, waiting for
us to repent—and then He will forgive us and restore us to the dignity of being His
sons.

The Popes have consistently recommended Christians to have regular recourse
to this Sacrament: “For a constant and speedy advancement in the path of vir-
tue we highly recommend the pious practice of frequent Confession, introduced
by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; for by this means we grow
in a true knowledge of ourselves and in Christian humility, bad habits are uproo-
ted, spiritual negligence and apathy are prevented, the conscience is purified
and the will strengthened, salutary spiritual direction is obtained, and grace is
increased by the efficacy of the Sacrament itself” (Pius XII, “Mystici Corporis”).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

From: John 15:26-27; 16:12-15

A Hostile World (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [26] “But when the Counsellor comes, whom I shall
send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father,
He will bear witness to Me; [27] and you also are witnesses, because you have
been with Me from the beginning.

The Action of the Holy Spirit (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [12] “I have yet many things to say to you, but you
cannot bear them now. [13] When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you
into all the truth; for He will not speak of His own authority, but whatever He hears
He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. [14] He will
glorify Me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you. [15] All that the
Father has is Mine; therefore I said that He will take what is Mine and declare it
to you.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

26-27. Just before the Ascension our Lord will again charge the Apostles with the
mission to bear witness to Him (cf. Acts 1:8). They have been witnesses to the
public ministry, death and resurrection of Christ, which is a condition for belonging
to the Apostolic College, as we see when Matthias is elected to take the place of
Judas (cf. Acts 1:21-22). But the public preaching of the Twelve and the life of the
Church will not start until the Holy Spirit comes.

Every Christian should be living witness to Jesus, and the Church as a whole is a
permanent testimony to Him: “The mission of the Church is carried out by means
of that activity through which, in obedience to Christ’s command and moved by the
grace and love of the Holy Spirit, the Church makes itself fully present to all men
and peoples in order to lead them to the faith, freedom and peace of Christ by the
example of its life and preaching, by the sacraments and other means of grace”
(Vatican II, “Ad Gentes”, 5).

  1. It is the Holy Spirit who makes fully understood the truth revealed by Christ.

    As Vatican II teaches, our Lord “completed and perfected Revelation and con-

    firmed it…finally by sending the Spirit of truth” (Vatican II, “Dei Verbum”, 4). Cf.

    note on John 14:25-26.

14-15. Jesus Christ here reveals some aspects of the mystery of the Blessed
Trinity. He teaches that the Three Divine Persons have the same nature when
He says that everything that the Father has belongs to the Son, and everything
the Son has belongs to the Father (cf. John 17:10) and that the Spirit also has
what is common to the Father and the Son, that is, the divine essence. The
activity specific to the Holy Spirit is that of glorifying Christ, reminding and
clarifying for the disciples everything the Master taught them (John 16:13). On
being inspired by the Holy Spirit to recognize the Father through the Son, men
render glory to Christ; and glorifying Christ is the same as giving glory to God
(cf. John 17:1, 3-5, 10).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass

Liturgical Colour: Red.

These readings are for the extended-form Vigil Mass on the evening before the feast.

First reading

Genesis 11:1-9 ©

The tower of Babel

Throughout the earth men spoke the same language, with the same vocabulary. Now as they moved eastwards they found a plain in the land of Shinar where they settled. They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and bake them in the fire.’ (For stone they used bricks, and for mortar they used bitumen). ‘Come,’ they said ‘let us build ourselves a town and a tower with its top reaching heaven. Let us make a name for ourselves, so that we may not be scattered about the whole earth.’

  Now the Lord came down to see the town and the tower that the sons of man had built. ‘So they are all a single people with a single language!’ said the Lord. ‘This is but the start of their undertakings! There will be nothing too hard for them to do. Come, let us go down and confuse their language on the spot so that they can no longer understand one another.’ The Lord scattered them thence over the whole face of the earth, and they stopped building the town. It was named Babel therefore, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth. It was from there that the Lord scattered them over the whole face of the earth.

Psalm

Psalm 32(33):10-15 ©

Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

He frustrates the designs of the nations,

  he defeats the plans of the peoples.

His own designs shall stand for ever,

  the plans of his heart from age to age.

Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

They are happy, whose God is the Lord,

  the people he has chosen as his own.

From the heavens the Lord looks forth,

  he sees all the children of men.

Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

From the place where he dwells he gazes

  on all the dwellers on the earth;

he who shapes the hearts of them all;

  and considers all their deeds.

Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

Second reading

Exodus 19:3-8,16-20 ©

Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God

Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Say this to the House of Jacob, declare this to the sons of Israel:

  ‘“You yourselves have seen what I did with the Egyptians, how I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself. From this you know that now, if you obey my voice and hold fast to my covenant, you of all the nations shall be my very own, for all the earth is mine. I will count you a kingdom of priests, a consecrated nation.”

  ‘Those are the words you are to speak to the sons of Israel.’

  So Moses went and summoned the elders of the people, putting before them all that the Lord had bidden him. Then all the people answered as one, ‘All that the Lord has said, we will do.’

  Now at daybreak on the third day there were peals of thunder on the mountain and lightning flashes, a dense cloud, and a loud trumpet blast, and inside the camp all the people trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the bottom of the mountain. The mountain of Sinai was entirely wrapped in smoke, because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. Like smoke from a furnace the smoke went up, and the whole mountain shook violently. Louder and louder grew the sound of the trumpet. Moses spoke, and God answered him with peals of thunder. The Lord came down on the mountain of Sinai, on the mountain top, and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain.

EITHER:

Canticle

Daniel 3:52-56 ©

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest, Lord God of our fathers.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

Blest your glorious holy name.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest in the temple of your glory.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest on the throne of your kingdom.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest who gaze into the depths.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest in the firmament of heaven.

To you glory and praise for evermore.

OR:

Alternative Psalm

Psalm 18(19):8-11 ©

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

The law of the Lord is perfect,

  it revives the soul.

The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,

  it gives wisdom to the simple.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

The precepts of the Lord are right,

  they gladden the heart.

The command of the Lord is clear,

  it gives light to the eyes.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

The fear of the Lord is holy,

  abiding for ever.

The decrees of the Lord are truth

  and all of them just.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

They are more to be desired than gold,

  than the purest of gold

and sweeter are they than honey,

  than honey from the comb.

You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

Third reading

Ezekiel 37:1-14 ©

A vision of Israel’s death and resurrection

The hand of the Lord was laid on me, and he carried me away by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley, a valley full of bones. He made me walk up and down among them. There were vast quantities of these bones on the ground the whole length of the valley; and they were quite dried up. He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ I said, ‘You know, Lord.’ He said, ‘Prophesy over these bones. Say, “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. The Lord says this to these bones: I am now going to make the breath enter you, and you will live. I shall put sinews on you, I shall make flesh grow on you, I shall cover you with skin and give you breath, and you will live; and you will learn that I am the Lord.”’ I prophesied as I had been ordered. While I was prophesying, there was a noise, a sound of clattering; and the bones joined together. I looked, and saw that they were covered with sinews; flesh was growing on them and skin was covering them, but there was no breath in them. He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man. Say to the breath, “The Lord says this: Come from the four winds, breath; breathe on these dead; let them live!”’ I prophesied as he had ordered me, and the breath entered them; they came to life again and stood up on their feet, a great, an immense army.

  Then he said, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole House of Israel. They keep saying, “Our bones are dried up, our hope has gone; we are as good as dead.” So prophesy. Say to them, “The Lord says this: I am now going to open your graves; I mean to raise you from your graves, my people, and lead you back to the soil of Israel. And you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. And I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live, and I shall resettle you on your own soil; and you will know that I, the Lord, have said and done this – it is the Lord who speaks.”’

Psalm

Psalm 106(107):2-9 ©

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

or

Alleluia!

Let them say this, the Lord’s redeemed,

  whom he redeemed from the hand of the foe

and gathered from far-off lands,

  from east and west, north and south.

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

or

Alleluia!

Some wandered in the desert, in the wilderness,

  finding no way to a city they could dwell in.

Hungry they were and thirsty;

  their soul was fainting within them.

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

or

Alleluia!

Then they cried to the Lord in their need

  and he rescued them from their distress

and he led them along the right way,

  to reach a city they could dwell in.

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

or

Alleluia!

Let them thank the Lord for his love,

  for the wonders he does for men:

for he satisfies the thirsty soul;

  he fills the hungry with good things.

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.

or

Alleluia!

Fourth reading

Joel 3:1-5 ©

I will pour out my spirit on all mankind

Thus says the Lord:

‘I will pour out my spirit on all mankind.

Your sons and daughters shall prophesy,

your old men shall dream dreams,

and your young men see visions.

Even on the slaves, men and women,

will I pour out my spirit in those days.

I will display portents in heaven and on earth,

blood and fire and columns of smoke.’

The sun will be turned into darkness,

and the moon into blood,

before the day of the Lord dawns,

that great and terrible day.

All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved,

for on Mount Zion there will be some who have escaped,

as the Lord has said,

and in Jerusalem some survivors whom the Lord will call.

Psalm

Psalm 103(104):1-2,24,27-30,35 ©

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

or

Alleluia!

Bless the Lord, my soul!

  Lord God, how great you are,

clothed in majesty and glory,

  wrapped in light as in a robe!

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

or

Alleluia!

How many are your works, O Lord!

  In wisdom you have made them all.

The earth is full of your riches.

  Bless the Lord, my soul.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

or

Alleluia!

All of these look to you

  to give them their food in due season.

You give it, they gather it up:

  you open your hand, they have their fill.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

or

Alleluia!

You take back your spirit, they die,

  returning to the dust from which they came.

You send forth your spirit, they are created;

  and you renew the face of the earth.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

or

Alleluia!

Fifth reading

Romans 8:22-27 ©

The Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words

From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free. For we must be content to hope that we shall be saved – our salvation is not in sight, we should not have to be hoping for it if it were – but, as I say, we must hope to be saved since we are not saved yet – it is something we must wait for with patience.

  The Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia!

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful

and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Alleluia!

Gospel

John 7:37-39 ©

‘If any man is thirsty, let him come to me!’

On the last day and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood there and cried out:

‘If any man is thirsty, let him come to me!

Let the man come and drink who believes in me!’

As scripture says: From his breast shall flow fountains of living water.

  He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive; for there was no Spirit as yet because Jesus had not yet been glorified.

These readings are for the simple-form Vigil Mass on the evening before the feast.

EITHER:

First reading

Genesis 11:1-9 ©

The tower of Babel

Throughout the earth men spoke the same language, with the same vocabulary. Now as they moved eastwards they found a plain in the land of Shinar where they settled. They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and bake them in the fire.’ (For stone they used bricks, and for mortar they used bitumen). ‘Come,’ they said ‘let us build ourselves a town and a tower with its top reaching heaven. Let us make a name for ourselves, so that we may not be scattered about the whole earth.’

  Now the Lord came down to see the town and the tower that the sons of man had built. ‘So they are all a single people with a single language!’ said the Lord. ‘This is but the start of their undertakings! There will be nothing too hard for them to do. Come, let us go down and confuse their language on the spot so that they can no longer understand one another.’ The Lord scattered them thence over the whole face of the earth, and they stopped building the town. It was named Babel therefore, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth. It was from there that the Lord scattered them over the whole face of the earth.

OR:

Alternative First reading

Exodus 19:3-8,16-20 ©

Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God

Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Say this to the House of Jacob, declare this to the sons of Israel:

  ‘“You yourselves have seen what I did with the Egyptians, how I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself. From this you know that now, if you obey my voice and hold fast to my covenant, you of all the nations shall be my very own, for all the earth is mine. I will count you a kingdom of priests, a consecrated nation.”

  ‘Those are the words you are to speak to the sons of Israel.’

  So Moses went and summoned the elders of the people, putting before them all that the Lord had bidden him. Then all the people answered as one, ‘All that the Lord has said, we will do.’

  Now at daybreak on the third day there were peals of thunder on the mountain and lightning flashes, a dense cloud, and a loud trumpet blast, and inside the camp all the people trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the bottom of the mountain. The mountain of Sinai was entirely wrapped in smoke, because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. Like smoke from a furnace the smoke went up, and the whole mountain shook violently. Louder and louder grew the sound of the trumpet. Moses spoke, and God answered him with peals of thunder. The Lord came down on the mountain of Sinai, on the mountain top, and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain.

OR:

Alternative First reading

Ezekiel 37:1-14 ©

A vision of Israel’s death and resurrection

The hand of the Lord was laid on me, and he carried me away by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley, a valley full of bones. He made me walk up and down among them. There were vast quantities of these bones on the ground the whole length of the valley; and they were quite dried up. He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ I said, ‘You know, Lord.’ He said, ‘Prophesy over these bones. Say, “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. The Lord says this to these bones: I am now going to make the breath enter you, and you will live. I shall put sinews on you, I shall make flesh grow on you, I shall cover you with skin and give you breath, and you will live; and you will learn that I am the Lord.”’ I prophesied as I had been ordered. While I was prophesying, there was a noise, a sound of clattering; and the bones joined together. I looked, and saw that they were covered with sinews; flesh was growing on them and skin was covering them, but there was no breath in them. He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man. Say to the breath, “The Lord says this: Come from the four winds, breath; breathe on these dead; let them live!”’ I prophesied as he had ordered me, and the breath entered them; they came to life again and stood up on their feet, a great, an immense army.

  Then he said, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole House of Israel. They keep saying, “Our bones are dried up, our hope has gone; we are as good as dead.” So prophesy. Say to them, “The Lord says this: I am now going to open your graves; I mean to raise you from your graves, my people, and lead you back to the soil of Israel. And you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. And I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live, and I shall resettle you on your own soil; and you will know that I, the Lord, have said and done this – it is the Lord who speaks.”’

OR:

Alternative First reading

Joel 3:1-5 ©

I will pour out my spirit on all mankind

Thus says the Lord:

‘I will pour out my spirit on all mankind.

Your sons and daughters shall prophesy,

your old men shall dream dreams,

and your young men see visions.

Even on the slaves, men and women,

will I pour out my spirit in those days.

I will display portents in heaven and on earth,

blood and fire and columns of smoke.’

The sun will be turned into darkness,

and the moon into blood,

before the day of the Lord dawns,

that great and terrible day.

All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved,

for on Mount Zion there will be some who have escaped,

as the Lord has said,

and in Jerusalem some survivors whom the Lord will call.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalm 103(104):1-2,24,27-30,35 ©

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

or

Alleluia!

Bless the Lord, my soul!

  Lord God, how great you are,

clothed in majesty and glory,

  wrapped in light as in a robe!

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

or

Alleluia!

How many are your works, O Lord!

  In wisdom you have made them all.

The earth is full of your riches.

  Bless the Lord, my soul.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

or

Alleluia!

All of these look to you

  to give them their food in due season.

You give it, they gather it up:

  you open your hand, they have their fill.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

or

Alleluia!

You take back your spirit, they die,

  returning to the dust from which they came.

You send forth your spirit, they are created;

  and you renew the face of the earth.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

or

Alleluia!

Second reading

Romans 8:22-27 ©

The Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words

From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free. For we must be content to hope that we shall be saved – our salvation is not in sight, we should not have to be hoping for it if it were – but, as I say, we must hope to be saved since we are not saved yet – it is something we must wait for with patience.

  The Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia!

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful

and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Alleluia!

Gospel

John 7:37-39 ©

‘If any man is thirsty, let him come to me!’

On the last day and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood there and cried out:

‘If any man is thirsty, let him come to me!

Let the man come and drink who believes in me!’

As scripture says: From his breast shall flow fountains of living water.

  He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive; for there was no Spirit as yet because Jesus had not yet been glorified.

These readings are for the day of the feast itself:

First reading

Acts 2:1-11 ©

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak

When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

  Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’

Responsorial Psalm

Psalm 103(104):1,24,29-31,34 ©

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

or

Alleluia!

Bless the Lord, my soul!

  Lord God, how great you are,

How many are your works, O Lord!

  The earth is full of your riches.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

or

Alleluia!

You take back your spirit, they die,

  returning to the dust from which they came.

You send forth your spirit, they are created;

  and you renew the face of the earth.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

or

Alleluia!

May the glory of the Lord last for ever!

  May the Lord rejoice in his works!

May my thoughts be pleasing to him.

  I find my joy in the Lord.

Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.

or

Alleluia!

EITHER:

Second reading

1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13 ©

In the one Spirit we were all baptised

No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

  There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose.

  Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

OR:

Alternative Second reading

Galatians 5:16-25 ©

If you are led by the Spirit, no law can touch you

If you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are so opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions. If you are led by the Spirit, no law can touch you. When self-indulgence is at work the results are obvious: fornication, gross indecency and sexual irresponsibility; idolatry and sorcery; feuds and wrangling, jealousy, bad temper and quarrels; disagreements, factions, envy; drunkenness, orgies and similar things. I warn you now, as I warned you before: those who behave like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. There can be no law against things like that, of course. You cannot belong to Christ Jesus unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires.

  Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit.

Sequence

Holy Spirit, Lord of Light,

From the clear celestial height

Thy pure beaming radiance give.

Come, thou Father of the poor,

Come with treasures which endure

Come, thou light of all that live!

Thou, of all consolers best,

Thou, the soul’s delightful guest,

Dost refreshing peace bestow

Thou in toil art comfort sweet

Pleasant coolness in the heat

Solace in the midst of woe.

Light immortal, light divine,

Visit thou these hearts of thine,

And our inmost being fill:

If thou take thy grace away,

Nothing pure in man will stay

All his good is turned to ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew

On our dryness pour thy dew

Wash the stains of guilt away:

Bend the stubborn heart and will

Melt the frozen, warm the chill

Guide the steps that go astray.

Thou, on us who evermore

Thee confess and thee adore,

With thy sevenfold gifts descend:

Give us comfort when we die

Give us life with thee on high

Give us joys that never end.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia!

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful

and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Alleluia!

EITHER:

Gospel

John 20:19-23 ©

As the Father sent me, so am I sending you: receive the Holy Spirit

In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,

so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.

For those whose sins you forgive,

they are forgiven;

for those whose sins you retain,

they are retained.’

OR:

Alternative Gospel

John 15:26-27,16:12-15 ©

The Spirit of truth will lead you to the complete truth

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘When the Advocate comes,

whom I shall send to you from the Father,

the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father,

he will be my witness.

And you too will be witnesses,

because you have been with me from the outset.

‘I still have many things to say to you

but they would be too much for you now.

But when the Spirit of truth comes

he will lead you to the complete truth,

since he will not be speaking as from himself

but will say only what he has learnt;

and he will tell you of the things to come.

He will glorify me,

since all he tells you

will be taken from what is mine.

Everything the Father has is mine;

that is why I said:

All he tells you

will be taken from what is mine.’

Pray for Pope Francis.

Daily Gospel Commentary

Pentecost Sunday – Solemnity

Commentary of the day 
Saint Bonaventure (1221-1274), Franciscan, Doctor of the Church
The Tree of Life, no.39 (trans. ©The classics of Western spirituality)

The Fire of Pentecost

When seven weeks had passed since the resurrection, on the fiftieth day, “when the disciples were gathered in one place with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a violent wind blowing,” (Acts 1:14, 2:1-2).

Then the Spirit descended upon the group of a hundred and twenty persons and appeared in the form of tongues of fire to give speech to the mouth, light to the intellect and ardor to the affection. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak different languages as the prompting of the Holy Spirit dictated, who taught them all truth and inflamed them with all love and strengthened them in every virtue. For aided by his grace, illumined by his teaching and strengthened by his power, although they were few and simple, “they planted the Church with their own blood” (Roman Breviary) throughout the world, partly by their fiery words, partly by their perfect example, partly by their astonishing miracles.

Purified, illumined and perfected by the power of the same Holy Spirit, the Church became loveable to her Spouse and his attendants for being exceedingly beautiful and adorned with a wonderful variety; but to Satan and his angels she became “awe-inspiring like an army in battle array” (Sg 6:10).

‘God pardons sin; but He will not pardon the will to sin.’

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

The Angelus

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
our death. Amen.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary . . .

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary . . .

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen.

“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28)

 “Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb”
(Lk 1:42).

Arlington Catholic Herald

You are there

Fr. Stanley Krempa | For the Catholic Herald

5/16/18

Many years ago, in the “Golden Age of Television,” there was a program sponsored by the Prudential Life Insurance Company (represented by the Rock of Gibraltar) and hosted by newscaster Walter Cronkite called “You Are There.” The premise of the program was to have actors give a dramatic re-enactment of a historical event and be interviewed as they would be in a modern news broadcast today. It was both attractive and educational.

One can see the liturgical celebration of Pentecost as the church’s version of “You Are There.” We have all seen pictures and paintings of the first Pentecost event. Those portrayals of the gathered church should help us make Pentecost contemporary as we gather for the Eucharist.

First, we have the Apostles speaking in various languages. As one African bishop from the sixth century wrote, today the church preaches the Gospel and proclaims the Scriptures in every language known to humanity. There is no language today to which the Gospel is a stranger.

Secondly, we have the tongues of fire that come to rest over each apostle. Each of us has received a gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen the church. Our gift may be preaching, administration, parenthood, teaching, computer expertise, wealth management, care for the poor, projecting Christian values in the public square, fraternal correction, the capacity to pray well, compassion, spiritual healing and many others. Those “tongues of flame” were not extinguished after Pentecost Sunday. They continue to be distributed among us today.

Thirdly, we have the presence of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Appropriately, Pope Francis has designated the Monday after Pentecost as the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church. Mary was, in the words of the Holy Father’s decree, “a caring guide to the emerging church.” Mary continues to pray with the church, to strengthen the church and to point the church toward her son.

Finally, there is the thunderous noise like a driving wind, the sign of the Holy Spirit drawing the church where the people of the church sometimes may not want to go. In the 16th Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, for example, St. Paul makes reference to various places in Asia and Bithynia where he wanted to go to preach the Gospel but he was prevented by the Holy Spirit from doing so because the Lord wanted him elsewhere at that time. In such cases, God’s providence is like a strong driving wind. At other times, it is like a breeze described in the sequence today that cools us with the confidence that we are doing the Lord’s work.

The tongues of flame, the many languages, the prayerful presence of Mary, the guiding wind of God’s will — all the components of that first, dramatic Pentecost Sunday are present in the church today. When we celebrate the Eucharist this weekend, let us try to see the abiding presence of Pentecost in the church and in our world. Pentecost is not only a historical event, it is an ongoing and dynamic drama in the life of the church that keeps the church one, holy, catholic and apostolic. All the elements of that first Pentecost are still present at every Eucharist and “You are There.”

Msgr. Krempa is pastor of St. Bridget of Ireland Church in Berryville.

https://www.theworkofgod.org/Devotns/Euchrist/HolyMass/gospels.asp?key=12

Year B – Pentecost Sunday

The Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, shall give testimony of me.
John 15:26-27 16:12-15
26 But when the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he shall give testimony of me.
27 And you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning.
16:12-15
12 I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now.
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things so ever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall show you.
14 He shall glorify me; because he shall receive of mine, and shall show it to you.
15 All things whatsoever the Father has, are mine. Therefore I said, that he shall receive of mine, and show it to you.

Inspiration of the Holy Spirit – From the Sacred Heart of Jesus
I told you before, that I would have to leave you, but I would not leave you orphans, I promised to send the Advocate, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit who is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.

Well, I have given you my mother to be your mother also, since She has been chosen to be the Mother of all the children of God. I have given you also the Church as your mother, to be an image of your Heavenly Mother and to look after you. I have made you my disciples and apostles, and you need power from on high to fulfill your mission, therefore I have made a new creation.

My children, you have become temples of my Holy Spirit, God bearers, God’s witnesses, therefore you have the Holy Spirit to guide you and to lead you to the understanding of the whole truth. I am no longer personally with you as I was during my thirty three years on earth, but I am God, and after having given instructions to my apostles and after giving testimony of the Power of God by miracles never seen before, I have returned to the Glory which is mine from the beginning of time, I have ascended to my heavenly state where I am preparing a place for your souls.

I am Spirit, and in the Omnipotence of My presence I remain with you in Spirit and in Truth. By becoming temples of my Spirit, you permit me to come and speak to you. By your surrender to my love you accept me and become part of me, therefore fulfilling my desire.

My Holy Spirit will give my testimony to you, by speaking to your hearts, by revealing the truth and granting you the strength to remain in the faith.

Even though my Church is made up by human beings who are subject to the weaknesses of the flesh, I embrace it with my Light and protect it until the end of times. I keep it true to my teachings by the power of the Holy Spirit and I remain faithful to it, in my word and in the sacraments, granting my blessings to all who come with a thirsty soul to drink the living waters of my Spirit.

To experience the Presence of my Spirit in your hearts, you must come to me with a humble and contrite heart, surrender your souls to my love, desire to be with me and to listen to me, and the Holy Spirit will come to you.

The Holy Spirit will teach you to live by my word, He will remind you constantly to abide in my commandments of love, He will reveal to you the secrets of holiness, He will help you to grow in faith, hope and love.

Be always small in the Presence of God, be humble of heart and desire to be holy; be kind to everyone, forgive constantly so that my Peace may remain in your hearts, pray for the fire of the Holy Spirit to keep the flame of your faith burning constantly.

Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary

Archdiocese of Washington

The Spirit of the Lord Filled the Earth – A Homily for Pentecost

Msgr. Charles Pope • May 19, 2018 •

What a wondrous and challenging feast we celebrate at Pentecost! A feast like this challenges us because it puts to the lie a lazy, sleepy, hidden, and tepid Christian life. The Lord Jesus said to apostles, and still says to us, I have come to cast a fire on the earth (Luke 12:49). This is a feast about fire, a transformative, refining, purifying fire that the Lord wants to kindle in us and in this world. It is about a necessary fire, for as the Lord first judged the world by fire, the present heavens and the earth are reserved for fire. Because it is going to be the fire next time, we need the tongues of Pentecost fire to fall on us in order to set us on fire and bring us up to the temperature of glory.

The readings today speak to us of the Holy Spirit in three ways: the portraits of the Spirit, the proclamation of the Spirit, and the propagation by the Spirit.

  1. The Portraits of the Spirit– The reading today speaks of the Holy Spirit using two images: rushing wind and tongues of fire. These two images recall Psalm 50, which says, Our God comes, he does not keep silence, before him is a devouring fire, round about him a mighty tempest.

Rushing Wind – Notice how the text from Acts opens: When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.

This text brings us to the very root meaning of the word “spirit.” Spirit refers to breath. This is preserved in the word “respiration,” which is the act of breathing. So, the Spirit of God is the breath of God, the Ruah Adonai (the Spirit, the breath of God).

Genesis 1:2 speaks of this, saying, the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. Genesis 2:7 speaks even more remarkably of something God did only for man (not for the animals): then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

So, the very Spirit of God was breathed into Adam! As we know, though, Adam lost this gift and died spiritually when he sinned.

Thus, we see in this passage from Acts an amazing and wonderful resuscitation of the human person, as these first Christians experience the rushing wind of God’s Spirit breathing spiritual life back into them. God does C.P.R. and brings humanity, dead in sin, back to life! The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us once again as in a temple (cf 1 Cor 3:16). It has been said that Christmas is the feast of God with us, Good Friday is the Feast of God for us, but Pentecost is the Feast of God in us.

Tongues of Fire – The text from Acts then says, Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.

The Bible often speaks of God as fire or in fiery terms. Moses saw God as a burning bush. God led the people out of Egypt through the desert as a pillar of fire. Moses went up onto a fiery Mt. Sinai where God was. Psalm 97 says,

The LORD reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! Clouds and thick darkness are round about him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries round about. His lightnings lighten the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.

Scriptures also call God a Holy fire, a consuming fire (cf Heb 12:29) and a refining fire (cf Is. 48:10; Jer 9:7; Zec 13:9; Mal 3:3).

So it is that our God, who is a Holy Fire, comes to dwell in us through His Holy Spirit. As a Holy Fire, He refines us by burning away our sins and purifying us. As Job once said, But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold (Job 23:10).

God is also preparing us for judgment, for if He is a Holy Fire, then who may endure the day of His coming or of going to Him? What can endure the presence of Fire Himself? Only that which is already fire. Thus, we must be set afire by God’s love.

So, in the coming of the Holy Spirit, God sets us on fire to make us a kind of fire. In so doing, He purifies us and prepares us to meet Him one day, to meet Him who is a Holy Fire.

  1. The Proclamation of the Spirit– Notice that the Spirit came upon them like “tongues” of fire. The reference to tongues is no accident, for the Holy Spirit moves them to speak and ultimately to witness. The text says, And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”

Behold how the Holy Spirit moves them to proclaim, not just within the safety of the upper room, but also in holy boldness before the crowds that have gathered.

Notice the transformation! Moments ago, these were frightened men who gathered in secrecy behind locked doors, huddled together in fear. Now, they go forth to the crowds and proclaim Christ boldly. They have gone from fear to faith, from cowardice to courage, from terror to testimony!

What about us? Too many Christians are silent, overcome by fear. Perhaps they fear being called names or being unpopular. Perhaps they are anxious about being laughed at or resisted, or of being asked questions they don’t feel capable of answering. Some Christians are able to gather in the “upper room” of the parish and to be active, even to be leaders, but once outside the safe confines of the “upper room” they slip into undercover mode. They become “secret agent Christians.”

Well, the Holy Spirit wants to change that. The more we have really met Jesus Christ and experienced His Holy Spirit, the less able we are to keep silent. An old gospel song says, “I thought I wasn’t gonna testify, but I couldn’t keep it to myself, what the Lord has done for me.” The Holy Spirit, if authentically received, gives us zeal and joy, burning away our fear so that testifying and witnessing come naturally.

Note also how the Spirit “translates” for the apostles. The people in the crowd before them spoke different languages, yet each heard Peter and the others in his own language. The Spirit, therefore, assists not only us but also those who hear us. My testimony is not dependent on my eloquence alone but also on the grace of the Holy Spirit, who casts out deafness and opens hearts. Every Christian should remember this. Some of our most doubt-filled encounters with others can still bear great fruit because of the work of the Holy Spirit, who “translates” for us and overcomes many obstacles we might think insurmountable.

III. The Propagation by the Spirit – In the great commission, the Lord said, Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age (Matt 28:19ff). He also said, I have come to cast a fire on the earth and How I wish the blaze were already ignited (Luke 12:49).

How is the Lord going to do this?

Perhaps a picture will help to illustrate. My parish church is dedicated to the Holy Spirit under the title Holy Comforter. Above the high altar is the following Latin inscription: Spiritus Domini, replevit orbem terrarum (The Spirit of the Lord, filled the orb of the earth). (See the photo above of our high altar.)

The walls of my parish Church answer the question. The clerestory walls are painted Spanish red, and upon this great canvas are also painted the stories of the lives of twenty saints, surrounding us like a great cloud of witnesses (cfHeb 12:1). (See also the video below.) Over the head of every saint is a tongue of fire.

This is how the Spirit of the Lord fills the earth. It is not via “magic fairy dust.” It is in the fiery transformation of every Christian going forth to bring warmth and light to a cold, dark world. This is how the Lord casts fire upon the earth. This is how the Spirit of the Lord fills the orb of the earth—in the lives of saints (and in your life)!

In the end, the great commission (Matt 28) is our first and most important job. No matter what else we do, we are supposed to do this. Parishes do not deserve to exist if they do not do this. As individual Christians, we are a disgrace and not worthy of the name if we fail to win souls for Jesus Christ. The Spirit of the Lord is going to fill the orb of the earth, but only through us. The spread of the Gospel has been placed in your hands. It’s scary, isn’t it!

In my short time on this planet, I have seen it. Parishes that were once big and booming (and, frankly, sometimes arrogant) are now in decline; some are near closure. It happens to the best if they do not evangelize, if they do not accomplish “job one.” The Lord wants to light a fire. Why not become fire? Let the Spirit propagate the Church through you. (I’m not talking about the person next to you; I’m talking to you.)

Happy feast of Pentecost! Don’t forget that the basic image is very challenging, for it means getting out of the “upper room,” opening the doors, and proclaiming Christ to the world. Let the Holy Spirit light a fire in you. Then you can’t help but spread light and heat to a dark, cold world.

Let the evangelization of the whole world begin with you.

The video below features details from the clerestory of my parish, Holy Comforter in Washington, D.C. Notice the tongue of fire above each saint. The paintings show how the Spirit of the Lord fills the orb of the earth through the lives of the lives of the saints (and through you, too). It is not magic; it is grace, working in your life, through your gifts and your relationships, so that the Lord will reach each soul. The witnesses on the walls of my Church say, “You are the way that He will fill the earth and set it on fire.” Let the blaze be ignited in you!

The song says, “We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, looking on, encouraging us to do the will of the Lord. Let us stand worthy and be faithful to God’s call … We must not grow weary …!”

Dum complerentur dies Pentecostes,
erant omnes pariter dicentes, alleluia,
et subito factus est sonus de coelo, alleluia,
tamquam spiritus vehementis,
et replevit totam domum, alleluia.

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come,
they were all with one accord in one place, saying, alleluia.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, alleluia.

Video I

Video II

Sunday Gospel Reflections

Pentecost Sunday
Reading I: Acts 2:1-11 II: 1Cor 12:3-7,12-13

Gospel
John 20:19-23

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you”.
20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Interesting Details

  • John did not mention by what means Jesus came into the room, but simply stated the fact that he was present among the disciples to indicate the spiritual qualities of the resurrected body of Jesus.

  • The greeting that Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace be with you” means more than: “May you be saved from trouble.” It means “May God give you every good thing.” Also peace is considered a divine gift promised in the Old Testament for the coming days of deliverance.

  • He showed them his hands and his side. This is the only explicit evidence from the Gospel that Jesus was nailed rather than tied to the cross.

  • He breathed on them. This indicates the giving of new life, just as in the Book of Genesis, God created man by breathing life into him.

  • The last sentence lays down the duty of the Church to convey forgiveness to those repent from their hearts and to warn the impenitent that they are forfeiting the mercy of God. This is also considered as the origin of the sacrament of penance and baptism.

One Main Point

The resurrected Christ confers upon his disciples, hence the Church , the mission to continue his work of bringing God’s salvation to all mankind. In order to carry on the task that he had accomplished, Jesus empowered the Church with his Holy Spirit who would be the living force and guidance in propagating God’s message.

Reflections

  1. Visualize ourselves as the disciples in the Upper room, in a state of fearfulness and doubt about what had happened. How do we feel when Jesus appears to us?

  2. Relive the moment when Jesus breathed his Holy Spirit on the disciples and instructed them to go out and proclaim his Good News. How do we make his love known in our world today?

https://www.pray-as-you-go.org/home/

Veni Lumen Cordiam
https://youtu.be/bVpG-vL1vFM

Thanks for the calendar and the music.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/3559603/posts?page=3

Saint of the Day — Saint Bernardine of Siena

Information: St. Bernardine of Siena

Feast Day: May 20

Born: 1380, Massa Marittima, Italy

Died: 1444, Aquila, Italy

Canonized: 24 May 1450 by Pope Nicholas V

Patron of: advertisers; advertising; Aquila, Italy; chest problems; Italy; gambling addicts; public relations personnel; public relations work;

Holy Spirit Interactive KidsA Saint a Day

St. Bernadine of Siena

Feast Day: May 20
Born: 1380 :: Died: 1444

St. Bernardine of Siena was born in 1380 in a town near Siena, Italy. He was the son of an Italian governor. His parents died when he was seven. His relatives loved him as if he were their own. They also gave him a good education. He grew up to be a tall, handsome boy. He was so much fun that his friends loved to be with him. Yet they knew better than to use any dirty words when he was around. He would not put up with it. Twice when a man tried to lead him into sin, Bernardine punched him and sent him on his way.

The saint had a special love for the Blessed Mother. She was the one who kept him pure. Even when he was a teenager, Bernardine would pray to her as a child talks with his mother.

Bernardine was tender hearted. He felt great pity for the poor. Once, his aunt had no extra food to give a beggar. The boy cried, “I’d rather go without food myself than leave that poor man with none.” When a plague struck the area in 1400, Bernardine and his friends volunteered their services at the hospital. They helped the sick and dying day and night for six weeks until the plague had ended.

Bernardine joined the Franciscan order when he was twenty-two. He became a priest. After several years, he was assigned to go to towns and cities to preach. The people needed to be reminded about the love of Jesus. In those days, bad habits were ruining both young and old people. “How can I save these people by myself?” Bernardine asked the Lord in prayer. “With what weapons can I fight the devil?” And God answered, “My Holy Name will be enough for you.” So Bernardine spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. He used this Name a great many times in every sermon. He asked people to print Jesus’ Name over the gates of their cities, over their doorways-everywhere. Through devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus and devotion to the Blessed Mother, Bernardine brought thousands of people from all over Italy back to the Church.

St. Bernardine spent forty-two years of his life as a Franciscan. He died at the age of sixty-four in Aquila, Italy. It was May 20, 1444. He was declared a saint just six years later, in 1450, by Pope Nicholas V.

Reflection: “If you speak of God, speak with love. If you speak of yourself, speak with love. Take care that there is nothing in you but love, love, love.”-St. Bernadine of Siena

John

English: Douay-Rheims

Latin: Vulgata Clementina

Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)

John  20

19 .

Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you.

Cum ergo sero esset die illo, una sabbatorum, et fores essent clausæ, ubi erant discipuli congregati propter metum Judæorum : venit Jesus, et stetit in medio, et dixit eis : Pax vobis.

ουσης ουν οψιας τη ημερα εκεινη τη μια των σαββατων και των θυρων κεκλεισμενων οπου ησαν οι μαθηται συνηγμενοι δια τον φοβον των ιουδαιων ηλθεν ο ιησους και εστη εις το μεσον και λεγει αυτοις ειρηνη υμιν

20 .

And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord.

Et cum hoc dixisset, ostendit eis manus et latus. Gavisi sunt discipuli, viso Domino.

και τουτο ειπων εδειξεν αυτοις τας χειρας και την πλευραν αυτου εχαρησαν ουν οι μαθηται ιδοντες τον κυριον

21 .

He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you.

Dixit ergo eis iterum : Pax vobis. Sicut misit me Pater, et ego mitto vos.

ειπεν ουν αυτοις ο ιησους παλιν ειρηνη υμιν καθως απεσταλκεν με ο πατηρ καγω πεμπω υμας

22 .

When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.

Hæc cum dixisset, insufflavit, et dixit eis : Accipite Spiritum Sanctum :

και τουτο ειπων ενεφυσησεν και λεγει αυτοις λαβετε πνευμα αγιον

23 .

Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

quorum remiseritis peccata, remittuntur eis : et quorum retinueritis, retenta sunt.

αν τινων αφητε τας αμαρτιας αφιενται αυτοις αν τινων κρατητε κεκρατηνται

  1. Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for feel of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and says to them, Peace be to you.

    20. And when he had so said, he showed to them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

    21. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be to you: as my Father has sent me, even so send I you.

    22. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and says to them, Receive you the Holy Ghost:

    23. Whosesoever sins you remit, they are remitted to them; and whose soever sins you retain, they are retained.

    CHRYS. The disciples, when they heard what Mary told them, were obliged either to disbelieve, or, if they believed, to grieve that He did not count them worthy to have the sight of Him. He did not let them however pass a whole day in such reflections, but in the midst of their longing trembling desires to see Him, presented Himself to them: Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews.

    BEDE. Wherein is strewn the infirmity of the Apostles. They assembled with doors shut, through that same fear of the Jews, which had before scattered them: Came Jesus, and stood in the midst. He came in the evening, because they would be the most afraid at that time.

    THEOPHYL. Or because He waited till all were assembled: and with shut doors, that he might show how that in the very same way he had risen again, i.e. with the stone lying on the sepulcher.

    AUG. Some are strongly indisposed to believe this miracle, and argue thus: If the same body rose again, which hung upon the Cross, how could that body enter through shut doors? But if you comprehend the mode, it is no miracle: when reason fails, then is faith edified.

    AUG. The shut door did not hinder the body, wherein Divinity resided. He could enter without open doors, who was as born without a violation of His mother’s virginity

    CHRYS. It is wonderful that they did not think him a phantom. But Mary had provided against this, by the faith she had wrought in them. And He Himself too showed Himself so openly, and strengthened their wavering minds by His voice: And says to them, Peace be to you, i.e. Be not disturbed. Wherein too He reminds them; of what He had said before His crucifixion; My peace 1 give to you; and again, In Me you shall have peace.

    GREG. And because their faith wavered even with the material body before them, He showed them His hands and side: And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side.

    AUG. The nails had pierced His hands, the lance had pierced His side. For the healing of doubting hearts, the marks of the wounds were still preserved.

    CHRYS. And what He had promised before the crucifixion, I shall see you again, and you, heart shall rejoice, is now fulfilled: Then were the disciples glad when they say the Lord.

    AUG. The glory, wherewith the righteous shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father, i.e. in Christ’s body, we must believe to have been rather veiled than not to have been there at all. He accommodated His presence to man’s weak sight, and presented Himself in such form, as that His disciple could look at and recognize Him.

    CHRYS. All these things brought them to a most confident faith. As they were in endless war with the Jews, He says again, Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be to you.

    BEDE. A repetition is a confirmation: whether He repeats it because the grace of love is twofold, or because He it is who made of twain one.

    CHRYS. At the same time He shows the efficacy of the cross, by which He undoes all evil things, and gives all good things; which is peace. To the women above there was announced joy; for that sex was in sorrow, and had received the curse, In sorrow shall you bring forth. All hindrances then being removed, and every thing made straight, he adds, As My Father has sent Me, even so send I you

    GREG. The Father sent the Son, appointed Him to the work of redemption. He says therefore, As My Father has sent Me, even so send I you; i.e. I love you, now that I send you to persecution, with the same love wherewith My Father loved Me, when He sent Me to My sufferings.

    AUG. We have learnt that the Son is A equal to the Father: here He shows Himself Mediator; He Me, and I you.

    CHRYS. Having then given them confidence by His own miracles, and appealing to Him who sent Him, He uses a prayer to the Father, but of His own authority gives them power: And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and says to them, Receive you the Holy Ghost.

    AUG. That corporeal breath was not the substance of the Holy Ghost, but to show, by meet symbol, that the Holy Ghost proceeded not only from the Father, but the Son. For who would be so mad as to say, that it was one Spirit which He gave by breathing, and another which He sent after His ascension?

    GREG. But why is He first given too the disciples on earth, and afterwards sent from heaven? Because there are two commandments of love, to love God, and to love our neighbor. The spirit to love our neighbor is given on earth, the spirit to love God is given from heaven. As then love is one, and there are two commandments; so the Spirit is one, and there are two gifts of the Spirit. And the first is given by our Lord while yet upon earth, the second from heaven, because by the love of our neighbor we learn how to arrive at the love of God.

    CHRYS. Some say that by breathing He did not give them the Spirit, but made them meet to receive the Spirit. For if Daniel’s senses were so overpowered by the sight of the Angel, how would they have been overwhelmed in receiving that unutterable gift, if He had not first prepared them for it! It would not be wrong however to say that they received then the gift of a certain spiritual power, not to raise the dead and do miracles, but to remit sins: Whosoever sins you remit, they are remitted to them, and whosoever sins you retain, they are retained.

    AUG. The love of the Church, which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, remits the sins of those who partake of it; but retains the sins of those who do not. Where then He has said, Receive you the Holy Ghost, He instantly makes mention of the remission and retaining of sins.

    GREG. We must understand that those who first received the Holy Ghost, for innocence of life in themselves, and preaching to a few others, received it openly after the resurrection, that they might profit not a few only, but many. The disciples who were called to such works of humility, to what a height of glory are they led! Lo, not only have they salvation for themselves, but are admitted to the powers of the supreme Judgment-seat; so that, in the place of God, they retain some men’s sins, and remit others. Their place in the Church, the Bishops now hold; who receive the authority to bind, when they are admitted to the ram; of government. Great the honor, but heavy the burden of the place. It is ill if one who knows not how to govern his own life, shall be judge of another’s.

    CHRYS. A priest though he may have ordered well his own life, yet, if he have not exercised proper vigilance over others, is sent to hell with the evil doers. Wherefore, knowing the greatness of their danger, pay them all respect, even though they be not men of notable goodness. For they who are in rule, should not be judged by those who are under them. And their incorrectness of life will not at all invalidate what they do by commission from God. For not only cannot a priest, but not even angel or archangel, do any thing of themselves; the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost do all. The priest only furnishes the tongue, and the hand. For it were not just that the salvation of those who come to the Sacraments in faith, should be endangered by another’s wickedness.

    Catena Aurea John 20

Appearance Behind Locked Doors

Duccio di Buoninsegna

1308-11
Tempera on wood, 39,5 x 51,5 cm
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena

John

English: Douay-Rheims

Latin: Vulgata Clementina

Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)

John  15

26 .

But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me.

Cum autem venerit Paraclitus, quem ego mittam vobis a Patre, Spiritum veritatis, qui a Patre procedit, ille testimonium perhibebit de me ;

οταν δε ελθη ο παρακλητος ον εγω πεμψω υμιν παρα του πατρος το πνευμα της αληθειας ο παρα του πατρος εκπορευεται εκεινος μαρτυρησει περι εμου

27 .

And you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning.

et vos testimonium perhibebitis, quia ab initio mecum estis.

και υμεις δε μαρτυρειτε οτι απ αρχης μετ εμου εστε

[…]

John  16

12 .

I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now.

Adhuc multa habeo vobis dicere, sed non potestis portare modo.

ετι πολλα εχω λεγειν υμιν αλλ ου δυνασθε βασταζειν αρτι

13 .

But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you.

Cum autem venerit ille Spiritus veritatis, docebit vos omnem veritatem : non enim loquetur a semetipso, sed quæcumque audiet loquetur, et quæ ventura sunt annuntiabit vobis.

οταν δε ελθη εκεινος το πνευμα της αληθειας οδηγησει υμας εις πασαν την αληθειαν ου γαρ λαλησει αφ εαυτου αλλ οσα αν ακουση λαλησει και τα ερχομενα αναγγελει υμιν

14 .

He shall glorify me; because he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it to you.

Ille me clarificabit, quia de meo accipiet, et annuntiabit vobis.

εκεινος εμε δοξασει οτι εκ του εμου ληψεται και αναγγελει υμιν

15 .

All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine. Therefore I said, that he shall receive of mine, and shew it to you.

Omnia quæcumque habet Pater, mea sunt. Propterea dixi : quia de meo accipiet, et annuntiabit vobis.

παντα οσα εχει ο πατηρ εμα εστιν δια τουτο ειπον οτι εκ του εμου λαμβανει και αναγγελει υμιν

  1. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me.

    27. And you also shall bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

    CHRYS. The disciples might say, If they have heard words from Thee, such as none other has spoken, if they have seen works of Him, such as none other has done, and yet have not been convinced, but have hated your Father, and you with Him, why do you send us to preach? How shall we be believed? Such thoughts as these He now answers: But when the Comforter is come, Whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of Me.

    AUG. As if He said, Seeing Me, they hated and killed Me; but the Comforter shall give such testimony concerning Me as shall make them believe, though they see Me not. And because He shall testify, you shall testify also:

    And you also shall bear witness; He will inspire your hearts, and you shall proclaim with your voices. And you will preach what you know, Because you have been with Me from the beginning; which now you do not do, because you have not yet the fullness of the Spirit. But the love of God shall then be shed abroad in your hearts by the Spirit which shall be given you, and shall make you confident witnesses to Me. The Holy Spirit by His testimony made others testify, taking away fear from the friends of Christ’s, and converting the hatred of His enemies into love.

    DIDYMUS. The Holy Spirit He calls the Comforter, a name taken from His office, which is not only to relieve the sorrows of the faithful, but to fill them with unspeakable joy. Everlasting gladness is in those hearts, in which the Spirit dwells. The Spirit, the Comforter, is sent by the Son, not as Angels, or Prophets, or Apostles, are sent, but as the Spirit must be sent which is of one nature with the Divine wisdom and power that sends Him. The Son when sent by the Father, is not separated from Him, but abides in the Father, and the Father in Him. In the same way the Holy Spirit is not sent by the Son, and proceeds from the Father, in the sense of change of place. For as the Father’s nature, being incorporeal, is not local, so neither has the Spirit of truth, Who is incorporeal also, and superior to all created things, a local nature.

    CHRYS. He calls Him not the Holy Spirit, but the Spirit of truth, to show the perfect faith that was due to Him. He knew that He proceeds from the Father, for He knew all things; He knew where He Himself came from, as He says of Himself above, I know whence I came, and whither l go (John 8:14).

    DIDYMUS. He does not say, from God, or, from the Almighty, but, from the Father, because though the Father and God Almighty are the same, yet the Spirit of truth properly proceeds from God, as the Father, the Begetter. The Father and the Son together send the Spirit of truth: He comes by the will both of the Father and the Son.

    THEOPHYL. Elsewhere He says that the Father sends the Spirit; now He says He does: Whom I will send to you, thus declaring the equality of the Father and the Son. That He might not be thought however to be opposed to the Father, and to be another and rival source, as it were, of the Spirit, He adds, From the Father, i.e., the Father agreeing, and taking an equal part in sending Him. When it is said that He proceeds, do not understand His procession to be an external mission, such as is given to ministering spirits, but a certain peculiar, and distinct procession, such as is true of the Holy Spirit alone. To proceed is not the same as being sent, but is the essential nature of the Holy Ghost, as coming from the Father.

    AUG. If it be asked here whether the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son also, we may answer thus: The Son is the Son of the Father alone, and the Father is the Father of the Son only; but the Holy Spirit is not the Spirit of one, but of both; since Christ Himself said, The Spirit of your Father which speaks in you (Mat 10:20). And the Apostle says, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts (Gal 4:6). This indeed, I think, is the reason why He is called peculiarly the Spirit. For both of the Father and the Son separately we may pronounce, that each is a Spirit. But what each is separately in a general sense, He who is not either one separately, but the union of both, is spiritually. But if the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Son, why should we not believe that He proceeds from the Son? Indeed if He did not proceed from the Son, Christ would not after the resurrection have breathed on His disciples, and said, Receive you the Holy Ghost. This too is what is meant by the virtue which went out of Him, and healed all. If the Holy Ghost then proceeds both from the Father and the Son, why does Christ say, Who proceeds from the Father? He says it in accordance with His general way of referring all that He has to Him from whom He is; as where He says, My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If the doctrine was His, which He says was not His own, but the Father’s, much more does the Holy Spirit proceed from Him, consistently with His proceeding from the Father. From whom the Son has His Godhead, from Him He has it that the Holy Ghost proceeds from Him. And this explains why the Holy Ghost is not said to be born, but to proceed. For if He were born, He would be the Son of both Father and Son, an absurd supposition; for if two together have a Son, those two must be father and mother. But to imagine any such relation as this between God the Father, and God the Son, is monstrous. Even the human offspring does not proceed from father or mother at the same time; when it proceeds from the father, it does not proceed from the mother. Whereas the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Father into the Son, and from the Son into the creature to be sanctified; but proceeds from Father and Son at once. And if the Father is life, and the Son is life, so the Holy Ghost is life also. Just then as the Father when He had life in Himself, gave also to the Son to have life in Himself; so He gave to the Son also that life should proceed from Him, even as it proceeded from Himself.

    Catena Aurea John 15

    12. I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

    13. However when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come.

    14. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine and shall show it to you.

    15. All things that the Father has are mine; therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it to you.

    THEOPHYL. Our Lord having said above, It is expedient for you that I go away, He enlarges now upon it: I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

    AUG. All heretics, when their fables are rejected for their extravagance by the common sense of mankind, try to defend themselves by this text; as if these were the things which the disciples could not at this time bear, or as if the Holy Spirit could teach things, which even the unclean spirit is ashamed openly to teach and preach.

    But bad doctrines such as even natural shame cannot bear are one thing, good doctrines such as our poor natural understanding cannot bear are another. The one are allied to the shameless body, the other lie far beyond the body. But what are these things which they could not bear; I cannot mention them for this very reason; for who of us dare call himself able to receive what they could not? Some one will say indeed that many, now that the Holy Ghost has been sent, can do what Peter could not then, as earn the crown of martyrdom.

    But do we therefore know what those things were, which He was unwilling to communicate; for it seems most absurd to suppose that the disciples were not able to bear then the great doctrines, that we find in the Apostolic Epistles, which were written afterwards, which our Lord is not said to have spoken to them. For why could they not bear then what every one now reads and bears in their writings, even though he may not understand? Men of perverse sects indeed cannot bear what is found in Holy Scripture concerning the Catholic faith, as we cannot bear their sacrilegious vanities; for not to bear means not to acquiesce in.

    But what believer or even catechumen before he has been baptized and received the Holy Ghost, does not acquiesce in and listen to, even if he does not understand, all that was written after our Lord’s ascension; But some one will say, Do spiritual men never hold doctrines which they do not communicate to carnal men, but do to spiritual?

    There is no necessity why any doctrines should be kept secret from the babes and revealed to the grown up believers. Spiritual men ought not altogether to withhold spiritual doctrines from the carnal, seeing the Catholic faith ought to be preached to all; nor at the same time should they lower them in order to accommodate them to the understanding of persons who cannot receive them, and so make their own preaching contemptible, rather than the truth intelligible.

    So then we are not to understand these words of our Lord to refer to certain secret doctrines which if the teacher revealed, the disciple would not be able to bear, but to those very things in religious doctrine which are within the apprehension of all of us. If Christ chose to communicate these to us, in the same way in which He does to the Angels, what men, yea what spiritual men, which the Apostles were not now, could bear them? For indeed every thing which can be known of the creature is inferior to the Creator; and yet who is silent about Him?

    While in the body we cannot know all the truth, as the Apostle says, We know in part (1 Cor 13); but the Holy Spirit sanctifying us fits us for enjoying that fullness of which the same Apostle says, Then face to face. Our Lord’s promise, But when He the Spirit of truth shall come, He shall teach you all truth, or shall lead you into all truth, does not refer to this life only, but to the life to come, for which this complete fullness is reserved. The Holy Spirit both teaches believers now all the spiritual things which they are capable of receiving, and also kindles in their hearts a desire to know more.

    DIDYMUS. Or He means that His hearers had not yet attained to all those things which for His name’s sake they were able to bear; so, revealing lesser things, He puts off the greater for a future time, such things as they could not understand till the Cross itself of their crucified Head had been their instruction. As yet they were slaves to the types, and shadows, and images of the Law, and could not bear the truth of which the Law was the shadow. But when the Holy Ghost came, He would lead them by His teaching and discipline into all truth, transferring them from the dead letter to the quickening Spirit, in Whom alone all Scripture truth resides.

    CHRYS. Having said then, you cannot bear them now, but then you shall be able, and, The Holy Spirit shall lead you into all truth; lest this should make them suppose that the Holy Spirit was the superior, He adds, For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak.

    AUG. This is like what He said of Himself above, i.e., I can of My own Self do nothing; as I hear I judge. But that may be understood of Hi m as man; how must we understand this of the Holy Ghost, Who never became a creature by assuming a creature? As meaning that He is not from Himself: The Son is born of the Father, and the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father. In what the difference consists between proceeding and being born, it would require a long time to discuss, and would be rash to define.

    But to hear is with Him to know, to know to be. As then He is not from Himself, but from Him from Whom He proceeds, from Whom His being is, from the same is His knowledge. From the same therefore His hearing. The Holy Ghost then always hears, because He always knows; and He has heard, hears, and will hear from Him from Whom He is.

    DIDYMUS. He shall not speak of Himself, i.e., not without Me, and Mine and the Father’s will: because He is not of Himself, but from the Father and Me. That He exists, and that He speaks, He has from the Father and Me. I speak the truth; i.e., I inspire as well as speak by Him, since He is the Spirit of Truth. To say and to speak in the Trinity must not be understood according to our usage, but according to the usage of incorporeal natures, and especially the Trinity, which implants Its will in the hearts of believers, all of those who are worthy to hear It.

    For the Father then to speak, and the Son to hear, is a mode of expressing the identity of their nature, and their agreement. Again, the Holy Spirit, Who is the Spirit of truth, and the Spirit of wisdom, cannot hear from the Son what He does not know, seeing He is the very thing which is produced from the Son, i.e. truth proceeding from truth, Comforter from Comforter, God from God. Lastly, lest any one should separate Him from the will and society of the Father and the Son, it is written, Whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak.

    AUG. But it does not follow from hence that the Holy Spirit is inferior; for it is only signified that He proceeds from the Father.

    AUG. Nor let the use of the future tense perplex you; that hearing is eternal, because the knowledge is eternal. To that which is eternal, without beginning, and without end, a verb of any tense may be applied. For though an unchangeable nature does not admit of was and shall be, but only is, yet it is allowable to say of It, was and is and shall be: was, because It never began; shall be, because It never shall end; is, because It always is.

    DIDYMUS. By the Spirit of truth too the knowledge of future events has been granted to holy men. Prophets filled with this Spirit foretold and saw things to come, as if they were present: And He will show you things to come.

    BEDE. It is certain that many filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit have foreknown future events. But as many gifted saints have never had this power, the words, He will show you things to come, may be taken to mean, bring back to your minds the Joys of your heavenly country. He did however inform the Apostles of what was to come, viz. of the evils that they would have to suffer for Christ’s sake, and the good things they would receive in recompense.

    CHRYS. In this way then He raised their spirits; for there is nothing for which mankind so long, as the knowledge of the future. He relieves them from all anxiety on this account, by showing that dangers would not fall upon them unawares. Then to show that He could have told them all the truth into which the Holy Spirit would lead them, He adds, He shall glorify Me.

    AUG. By pouring love into the hearts of believers, and making them spiritual, and so able to see that the Son Whom they had known before only according to the flesh, and thought a man like themselves, was equal to the Father. Or certainly because that love filling them with boldness, and casting out fear, they proclaimed Christ to men, and so spread His fame throughout the whole world. For what they were going to do in the power of the Holy Ghost, this the Holy Ghost says He does Himself.

    CHRYS. And because He had said, You have one Master, even Christ (Matt 23:8), that they might not be prevented by this from admitting the Holy Ghost as well, He adds, For He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it to you.

    DIDYMUS. To receive must be taken here in a sense agreeable to the Divine Nature. As the Son in giving is not deprived of what He gives, nor imparts to others with any loss of His own, so too the Holy Ghost does not receive what before He had not; for if He received what before He had not, the gift being transferred to another, the giver would be thereby a loser.

    We must understand then that the Holy Ghost receives from the Son that which belonged to His nature, and that there are not two substances implied, one giving and the other receiving, but one substance only. In like manner the Son too is said to receive from the Father that wherein He Himself subsists. For neither is the Son any thing but what is given Him by the Father, nor the Holy Ghost any substance but that which is given Him by the Son.

    AUG. But it is not true, as some heretics have thought, that because the Son receives from the Father, the Holy Ghost from the Son, as if by gradation, that therefore the Holy Ghost is inferior to the Son. He Himself solves this difficulty, and explains His own words: All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it to you.

    DIDYMUS. As if He said, Although the Spirit of truth proceeds from the Father, yet all things that the Father has are Mine, and even the Spirit of the Father is Mine, and receives of Mine. But beware, when you hear this, that you think not it is a thing or possession which the Father and the Son have. That which the Father has according to His substance, i.e. His eternity, immutability, goodness, it is this which the Son has also.

    Away with the evils of logicians who say, therefore the Father is the Son. Had He said indeed, All that God has are Mine, impiety might have taken occasion to raise its head; but when He said, All things that the Father has are Mine, by using the name of the Father, He declares Himself the Son, and being the Son, He usurps not the Paternity, though by the grace of adoption He is the Father of many saints.

    HILARY. Our Lord therefore has not left it uncertain whether the Paraclete be from the Father, or from the Son; for He is sent by the Son, and proceeds from the Father; both these He receives from the Son. You ask whether to receive from the Son and to proceed from the Father be the same thing.

    Certainly, to receive from the Son must be thought one and the same thing with receiving from the Father; for when He says, All things that the Father has are Mine, therefore said I, that He shall receive of Mine, He shows herein that the things are received from Him, because all things which the Father has are His, but that they are received from the Father also. This unity has no diversity; nor does it matter from whom the thing is received; since that which is given by the Father is counted also as given by the Son.

    Catena Aurea John 16

Apostle Peter Preaching

Lorenzo Veneziano

c. 1370
Poplar panel, 24 x 33 cm

CATHOLIC ALMANAC

Sunday, May 20

Liturgical Color: White

Today is the optional memorial
of St. Bernardine of Siena,
priest. He was such an effective
speaker that thousands would
gather to hear him preach with
many giving up their vices
because of him. St. Bernardine
died in 1444.

St. Bernardine of Siena (Priest) (Origin of the “IHS” notation)
Holy Name of Jesus [San Bernadino of Siena] Ecumenical
Saint Bernadine of Siena, Franciscan Missionary Preacher

Catholic Culture

Easter: May 20th

Pentecost Sunday

MASS READINGS

May 20, 2018 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

Almighty ever-living God, who willed the Paschal Mystery to be encompassed as a sign in fifty days, grant that from out of the scattered nations the confusion of many tongues may be gathered by heavenly grace into one great confession of your name. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Old Calendar: Pentecost Sunday (Whitsunday) ; Other Titles: Whitsunday; Pinkster Sunday

And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, which settled upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign tongues, even as the Holy Spirit prompted them to speak (Acts 2, 1-4).

Pentecost Sunday marks the end of the first novena.

Pentecost (Whitsunday), with Christmas and Easter, ranks among the great feasts of Christianity. It commemorates not only the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and Disciples, but also the fruits and effects of that event: the completion of the work of redemption, the fullness of grace for the Church and its children, and the gift of faith for all nations.

The feast of St. Bernadine of Siena, which is ordinarily celebrated today, is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.

Click here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Pentecost
After Jesus had ascended to heaven from Mt. Olivet, the apostles and disciples returned to the Holy City. They remained together in the Upper Room or Cenacle, the place where Jesus had appeared to them and which may well be called the first Christian church. About a hundred and twenty persons were assembled there. They chose Matthias as an apostle in place of the unhappy Judas; they prayed and waited for the Paraclete.

Ten days had passed, it was Sunday, the seventh Sunday after the resurrection. At about nine o’clock in the morning, as they were together praying fervently, the Holy Spirit descended upon them. Note how all the great theophanies in Christ’s life occurred during the course of prayer. After His baptism, for instance, when Jesus was praying the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove; likewise, it was during prayer at night that the transfiguration took place on Tabor. Surely too it was while Mary was praying that Gabriel delivered his message, and the Holy Spirit overshadowed her. Pentecost followed precedent. The small community of Christians had prepared themselves through prayer for the coming of the Paraclete. The same is true at Mass today, every day; through prayer we ready our souls for the advent of the Spirit.

The descent upon the apostles was internal and invisible in nature although accompanied by certain visible phenomena. There came a mighty roar, like the onrush of a violent wind. It came suddenly, from heaven; but unlike storms that strike a structure from without, this one penetrated and filled the room where the disciples were gathered. Therefore it was not a natural wind, it was a miracle peculiar to the occasion. A second visible sign consisted in tongues of fire that descended upon each one present. These fiery tongues gave visible evidence that the Holy Spirit had descended upon them.

Today at Mass, particularly at holy Communion, the power of the Holy Spirit will come down upon us; fiery tongues will not be seen, but invisible tongues of fire will not be absent. There was still another external manifestation of the Holy Spirit; the apostles and disciples were enabled to speak various languages.

After the roar of the wind many of Jerusalem’s pilgrims hurried to the Cenacle. Pentecost was one of the three festivals which obliged all Jews to be present in Jerusalem. Jews from distant lands, and Jewish converts from paganism too, attended these feasts. As a result, a colorful crowd speaking a variety of languages surrounded the house. Now the apostles, who so shortly before had hid in fear behind locked doors, came forth and courageously walked among the multitude speaking to each in his native tongue. It was indeed amazing! Galileans, and multilingual?

But the malicious too were present; they had the answer. Nothing marvelous at all! Those Galileans were simply drunk, and their drunken babble sounded like a foreign language! Peter showed no hesitation in answering the charge. None of their number, he said, were intoxicated; it was but nine o’clock in the morning, and at that hour men usually are sober. What the multitude saw was, in fact, the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy: In those days (of the Messiah), God will pour forth His Spirit upon men and they will prophesy. . . . Then the apostle pointed his words more directly against the accusers: they had killed Jesus, had nailed Him to the Cross; but God had awakened Him and after His departure to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit.

The pilgrims who had heard Peter give this first pentecostal sermon “were pierced to the heart and said: Brethren, what shall we do? But Peter said to them: Repent and be baptized; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Three thousand responded.

One final question: why the miracle of tongues? In answer, recall the story regarding the tower of Babel. Puffed up by pride, men attempted to build a tower that would touch the heavens. To punish their sin, God confused their speech. Sin causes confusion and division. Now Christ came to gather all men into His Church and thereby to unite them to Himself. This should result in creating but one family of nations again. To this blessed state the miracle of tongues points.

Yes, even we as individuals have a gift of tongues which all men can understand. It is the gift of love infused into us by the Holy Spirit. Love unites, love is a common language, by means of love we can speak to all nations.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Things to Do:

The Word Among Us

Meditation: John 20:19-23

Pentecost Sunday

Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22)

Imagine being one of the disciples on Easter Sunday. The past few days have been marked, not only by the tragic death of Jesus, but also by your own spectacular failure. After spending so much time with Jesus, watching him perform miracles and hearing him speak about God’s mercy, you deserted him in his hour of need. You couldn’t even stay awake with him as he prayed at Gethsemane!

But now Jesus has risen and is standing right in front of you. Seeing him again, alive but still wounded, brings back these memories. You cringe inwardly and wait for him to upbraid you for your unbelief—again. But instead, he says the last thing you expect: Peace be with you. (John 20:19)

No condemnation, no anger, not even a mild rebuke. Just pure meek-but-powerful mercy. He still loves you. He still treasures you. All he is concerned about is that you find peace.

Your heart melts. Joy fills your being. You want to express your gratitude and praise, but words fail you. Then, Jesus says something else unexpected: As the Father has sent me, so I send you. (John 20:21)

God had just sent Jesus back to you as a sign of his love and mercy. He has sent Jesus so that you can see what love looks and feels like. And now Jesus is sending you to do the same thing? How can you possibly show such love? How can you possibly be like Christ? Sensing your confusion, Jesus breathes on you: Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22)

Once more, your heart melts. Only this time, the feeling is more personal. The Holy Spirit is pouring God’s love and mercy into your heart. That’s how he is sending you out: forgiven, filled with his love, and equipped to share that love.

Jesus is sending you too, just as the Father sent him. He is breathing his Spirit into you, just as he did for his disciples. Embrace your mission today on this great feast of Pentecost. Embrace the Holy Spirit.

“Come, Holy Spirit! Make me your ambassador.”

Acts 2:1-11
Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34
1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13

A Christian Pilgrim

THE LANGUAGE OF THE SPIRIT

(A biblical refection on the PENTECOST SUNDAY, 20 May 2018)

First Reading: Acts 2:1-11

Psalms: Psalm 104:1,24,29-34; Second Reading: Galatians 5:16-25; Gospel Reading: John 15:26-27; 16:12-15

The Scripture Text

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” (Acts 2:1-11 RSV)

A group of dispirited followers of Jesus had gathered and locked themselves in an upper room, probably the same room where the last supper was held. There was more perspiration than inspiration in the room. There was fear and suspicion. The room was occupied by a group of followers who were afraid that they would suffer the same fate as their Master. So they listened to every step on the stair; they waited for the knock of the executioner; they prayed that no one would discover their hiding-place and that the world leave them safe in their sacred enclosure.

In contrast there is the powerful image of the Holy Spirit as one who is not shy of the boundaries and the barriers that people erect. He is not halted by locked doors or locked hearts; He doesn’t exclude Himself from the restrictive areas people settle in. When the Spirit comes, it is not like a spring breeze that whispers unnoticed through a room; it is more like a hurricane that lays flat all the precious protections against its force. And the Spirit takes this group of dispirited followers and fires them with a new energy and a new enthusiasm and a new authority.

The presence of the Spirit makes the disciples open their lives to others: they don’t just decorate their sacred enclosure, they leave it and pass over into the lives of other people with the gifts of Gospel and peace and forgiveness.

The disciples go outdoors. They go to the market-place where people gather and there they proclaim to all how they have been changed by the power of the Spirit. They tell a Magnificat and proclaim how God has worked wonders in them. At first the crowds think that the apostles are drunk – no doubt because they’re sure it takes some kind of spirit to transform these men. Whatever it is, everyone acknowledges that something happened to dramatically change the outlook and behaviour of the followers of Jesus. The name of that experience is Spirit.

The crowd’s second reaction is a joyous one when they realize that the apostles are speaking their language. Perhaps we’ve all heard people say to us in a mixture of relief and enthusiasm: “Now you’re speaking my language!” When that happens there is communion, where before there had only been misunderstanding and division. The apostles got through to people, they spoke the deep language that is in all of us and which rarely gets spoken. It is the language in search of understanding; it is music in search of a melody. Saint Paul spoke of it as inarticulate groaning, the cry of the spirit within us. The apostles reach people in this profound language. It is the language of the Spirit.

Source: Denis McBride, CSsR, SEASONS OF THE WORD, Britain: Redemptorist Publications, 1991 (third printing September 1993), pages 162-163.

Prayer: Father of light, from whom every good gift comes, send Your Holy Spirit into our lives with the power of a mighty wind, and by the flame of Your wisdom open the horizons of our minds. Loosen our tongues to sing Your praise in words beyond the power of speech, for without Your Holy Spirit man could never raise His voice in words of peace or announce the truth that Jesus is Lord, who lives and reign with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Marriage = One Man and One Woman Until Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for May 20, 2018:

“Receive the holy Spirit.” (John 20:22) The Holy Spirit is a powerful presence in our lives. Invite the Holy Spirit to work in your marriage and to lead you on the path to holiness.

We Live in a War-Zone!

Pastor’s Column

Pentecost Sunday

May 20, 2018

The second reading for Pentecost Sunday is so important for our spiritual discernment that I want to reprint some of it for our continued reflection (Galatians 5: 16-25—Jerusalem Bible):

“If you are guided by the Spirit, you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are so opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions…

Impurity

Lust

Idolatry

Sorcery

Outbursts of fury

Jealousy

Acts of selfishness

Dissentions

Factions

Drinking bouts

Orgies and the like.

I warn you as I warned you before that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. What the Spirit brings is very different:

Love

Joy

Peace

Patience

Goodness

Kindness

Gentleness

Self-control

…You cannot belong to Christ Jesus unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit’s lead.”

Brothers and sisters, we live in a spiritual war-zone. Each of us is in fact on the front lines of the battle, with the enemy of our soul tempting us on one side and the Lord and his armies on the other. The battle rages both within and around us! In this Sunday’s second reading from Galatians, Saint Paul gives us this checklist to help us discern whose side of the battle we are fighting on: am I standing in the territory of the enemy at this moment, in this decision, or am I a force for good in the power of the Holy Spirit?

Even Saint Paul acknowledged that none of us wins every battle. This is why we rely on the mercy of Christ, who forgives our sins. Many people don’t even realize that life is really a spiritual battle zone! Whether we realize it or not, every decision and action of ours will bear fruit ultimately on the side of self-indulgence, or on the side of the Holy Spirit. Selfishness, angry outbursts, impurity, impatience… none of this comes from the Holy Spirit! When we see these types of fruits being manifested in our lives, it means that something needs to be corrected in our spiritual life.

This is exactly why Saint Paul gives us these two lists, because we need a constant reminder to help us discern regularly whose side we are fighting on, God’s or his enemy! The fruits of our decisions and actions will tell the real story. In order to see this, however, we will want to become more spiritually aware by examining our lives and actual decisions on a daily basis.

In many ways each church, like Saint Edward, is on the front lines of a kind of spiritual battle for souls that is taking place throughout the world. We come to Mass and participate in other activities here in order to be nourished in our faith, fed by the Eucharist and the other sacraments, strengthened by our fellowship with others, and to give to our neighbor of what we have by our presence and by our gifts, sacrifices and finances.

Sometimes we let Christ in through the front door (by praying, coming to church or doing good works, for example), but at the same time, we open a window and let the enemy in too (watching pornography and impurity in the media and internet and self-centered behaviors at home, school and work, for example).

The question to ask ourselves is this: if I am continually falling in certain areas of self-indulgence, am I really at war with these sinful choices? What must I do to overcome them? Am I really avoiding the situations that cause me to fall into sin? Am I making a good confession on a regular basis? Is any form of fasting (food, media) a part of my regime? Do I really make God and prayer a priority in my life? By following the Holy Spirit’s lead, we can already begin to live in heaven, no matter how much suffering we may be experiencing, because to live in heaven is to do the will of God.

                              Father Gary

Reflections from Scott Hahn

A New Wind: Scott Hahn Reflects on Pentecost Sunday

Download Audio File

Pentecost, Botticelli, 1495-1505

Readings:
Acts 2:1–11
Ps 104:1, 24, 29–31, 34
1 Cor 12:3–7, 12–13
Jn 20:19–23

The giving of the Spirit to the new people of God crowns the mighty acts of the Father in salvation history.

The Jewish feast of Pentecost called all devout Jews to Jerusalem to celebrate their birth as God’s chosen people in the covenant Law given to Moses at Sinai (see Leviticus 23:15–21; Deuteronomy 16:9–11).

In today’s First Reading, the mysteries prefigured in that feast are fulfilled in the pouring out of the Spirit on Mary and the Apostles (see Acts 1:14).

The Spirit seals the new law and new covenant brought by Jesus, written not on stone tablets but on the hearts of believers, as the prophets promised (see Jeremiah 31:31–34; 2 Corinthians 3:2–8; Romans 8:2).

The Spirit is revealed as the life-giving breath of the Father, the Wisdom by which He made all things, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

In the beginning, the Spirit came as a “mighty wind” sweeping over the face of the earth (see Genesis 1:2). And in the new creation of Pentecost, the Spirit again comes as “a strong, driving wind” to renew the face of the earth.

As God fashioned the first man out of dust and filled him with His Spirit (see Genesis 2:7), in today’s Gospel we see the New Adam become a life-giving Spirit, breathing new life into the Apostles (see 1 Corinthians 15:45, 47).

Like a river of living water, for all ages He will pour out His Spirit on His body, the Church, as we hear in today’s Epistle (see also John 7:37–39).

We receive that Spirit in the sacraments, being made a “new creation” in Baptism (see 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).

Drinking of the one Spirit in the Eucharist (see 1 Corinthians 10:4), we are the first fruits of a new humanity—fashioned from out of every nation under heaven, with no distinctions of wealth or language or race, a people born of the Spirit.

We hear them speaking . . . of the mighty acts of God.”

The Word: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/052018-mass-during-day.cfm

John 20: 19 – 23

In the beautiful second reading from Corinthians this Sunday, among other varied choices, we hear: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone . . .”

These words of Paul reflect the earliest of Christian communities that Paul had established.  It gives us a window into what Christian communities may have been like, yet certainly not without tension. Yet, aren’t we very much the same. In the experience of their diverse forms of spiritual gifts, varied forms of service, and different works Paul and these enriched communities saw for themselves how and where the Holy Spirit had become concretely obvious to their communities and beyond.

However, one might say that such diversity is a recipe for chaos that might breed competition, jealously, greed, arrogance, create factions and spawn selfishness. Ordinarily, without some common purpose or some shared vision, that might be the case.  Yet, for Paul and for us still today what is the barrier that prevents such from happening?  It is our common belief that what holds us together and is always a check on our tendency to think of “Me first,” is the power of the Holy Spirit that reminds us that we are sharers in the mission of Christ, something far beyond our selves, yet a very active part of it.  Whether our varied works may be small or more noticed they all contribute to the common good of the community each in their own way.

Some may be obvious like music, liturgical ministries, teaching, and charitable works and others more behind the scenes like washing dishes, cleaning altar linens, arranging flowers in typical parish life but all are part of a whole and all are needed to build up the Body of Christ, the Church, and to carry that mission beyond our own individual worlds.  To know this and to see that as our common point of focus and source of life is to live in the Spirit. We all share one baptism, one faith, and drink from the same Spirit, where all come together around the altar of sacrifice each Sunday with Christ our Head and our food for this journey.

The second reading choice from Galatians reminds us to seek the fruits, the signs, of the Spirit’s presence among us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  If we see these things expressed in the unity of our community, then the Holy Spirit is alive in our midst.

The story of the Spirit’s presence through wind, fire, and diverse languages that we hear of in the first reading from Acts, is one that caught the Apostles, gathered with Mary, unaware yet hopeful as they prayed.  It reminds us that the Christian message of salvation in Jesus Christ, the Kerygma as it is called, is meant for a much wider community than the small one gathered in Jerusalem that day.  The diverse language of ancient people spoken by the Apostles unifies the varied crowd gathered outside the room as they all heard of “the mighty acts of God” in one common, united message of hope and salvation in Christ. And so the mission of the Church and the Church itself is born.

We can see the connection with ourselves today.  All one need do is take a look around at the many gathered on any weekend for Mass.  There may be nothing more expressive of our unity in diversity, our Catholic nature of Christianity, than to be present for a public audience with the Holy Father at the Vatican.  Or to travel to other countries of the world and hear there an unfamiliar language and culture but to see that common form of our Mass which brings us home to one another.  Or to see the multiple forms of Christian service, ministries as they may be called, in any parish, yet to know that unity in Christ Jesus is always our common bond.  To live in the Spirit is to remain connected to the branches of the vine and to follow one Shepherd whose voice we hear.

Is there any comparison in the world these days to the united diversity of the Catholic Church?  Yes, the Church has been through much, has caused scandal and not behaved the best over the centuries but that is because it is composed of flawed human beings.  As the Second Vatican Council wisely admitted, the Church is constantly in need of reform. And that constant reform has produced saints, scholars, theologians, and holy people literally everywhere across this globe.  It is remarkable and owes it existence to the Spirit’s constant presence.

And so the Church and its varied members constituting hundreds of millions all across the globe are all missionary disciples as Pope Francis has said.  We all share in that common mission given to the Church thousands of years ago at Pentecost.  Let the Spirit blow strong in our lives to bring, as the Gospel from John reminds us, Jesus’ mission of forgiveness and healing to a world broken by sin.  We can stifle, block, or resist the work of God’s grace in our lives for sure but the Holy Spirit’s presence is a life force that will forever be present moving and forming us as the People of God.

O God, who by the mystery of today’s great feast

sanctify your whole Church in every people and nation,

pour out, we pray, the gifts of the Holy Spirit

across the face of the earth

and, with the divine grace that was at work

when the Gospel was first proclaimed,

fill now once more the hears of believers.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, 

who lives and reigns with you

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 

one God for ever and ever. 

(Collect of Mass)

Regnum Christi

May 20, 2018 – The Power of the Spirit

Pentecost Sunday

John 20: 19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Introductory Prayer: Today, Lord, we celebrate the gift of your Holy Spirit to the Church, which you won for us through your patient suffering on the cross. I believe and trust in his power to make me a better apostle of your Kingdom, to bring fervor where I have grown tepid, to instill detachment where I have become too indulgent, and to perfect the innocence of my baptism, which leaves my soul more pure and worthy to serve and honor you each day.

Petition: Come Holy Spirit, fill my heart with your grace and enkindle in me the fire of your love.

  1. The Doors Were Locked:What is it that makes a disciple of Christ stop cold in the path of conversion and commitment? Cloaked underneath our spiritual inertia and lack of zeal are not so much our personal defects or our lack of human virtue as blindness to the dynamic power of the Crucified and Risen Lord. We can leave our self-made prisons only by opening our hearts to a faith in Christ that is total: total trust (in spite of the confusion of the present and uncertainty of the future), total hope (by breaking away from having to see the ideal in ourselves before we will act), and total divine confidence (in setting aside the sins of others and our personal failures that keep us stuck in myopic visions of life). Christ comes through bolted doors again today to ask us to unlock them with an authentic experience of the Risen Lord in the power of the Spirit.

  2. Peace Be With You:It is vital to examine our “peace” and see if it truly speaks of the peace of the Upper Room. Substitute “satisfaction” for the word “peace,” and see where our hearts have tried to find consolation this past week. Then substitute the word “fulfillment.” This is the peace that Christ brings through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some passing satisfactions are part of life, and we can be grateful for them. When we seek them for their own sake, however, we can easily drown out the life of the Spirit, who comes to bring us deep peace and fulfillment in life. Pentecost must convince us above all about prayer and the order of life that permit us to have constant contact with sources of grace and divine inspiration.

  3. Receive the Holy Spirit:In the sacrament of penance, we are forgiven our sins through the action of the Holy Spirit, who makes the actions of Christ present through the priest. We believe that mercy founds hope and change in our soul. Why, then, do we not believe that this same grace from the Holy Spirit can make us heroic saints, victorious in trial, patient in difficult relationships and more effective as apostles? Christ assures us that his power will never leave us, so we have no reason to “slip into neutral” after a few bad incidents in our life. Rather, the Holy Spirit’s goal moves us from mercy to transformation into Christ, permitting us spiritually to carry and reveal his wounds to an unbelieving world.

Conversation with Christ: Oh, Jesus, I will trust more in the power of your Holy Spirit to change me than in my own efforts. I will depend on you in that face-to-face encounter I need to have with you every day. Let the sources of divine grace become my true food, and may I move away from feeding my soul on passing pleasures and vain ambitions.

Resolution: This week, I will write down daily all the lights and inspirations of the Holy Spirit I receive, and I will try to act on them with promptness, confidence and generosity.

Scripture Speaks: Pentecost Sunday

Gayle Somers

On Resurrection Day, Jesus breathed on His disciples, a gesture odd in itself but packed with meaning for our celebration of Pentecost today.

Gospel (Read Jn 20:19-23)

Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus surprised the disciples “on the evening of that first day of the week” by appearing in their midst without using a door (locked “for fear of the Jews”). We wonder if He had to calm them down a bit, because He said, twice, “Peace be with you.” We can imagine how startled they were. He showed them His wounds, in case they thought He was a ghost. Then, Jesus gave the apostles an astonishing commission: “As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.” What had begun three years earlier with a call to “Follow Me” (Mt 4:19) culminated in a sending out. Their work was to be a continuation of the divine apostleship of Jesus (“apostle” means “one sent”; see Heb. 3:1).

If we have paid attention to the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ companionship with these men, we have seen clear indications that He intended to give the apostles authority to build His Church and do His work. We are impressed by the scope of their mission but not really surprised by it. However, after announcing His directive to them, Jesus steps out of the expected with an action that can only be described as strange: “He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” Don’t let familiarity with this verse rob it of its shock value. Why on earth did Jesus breathe on His apostles?

To understand this moment, so different from anything we’ve yet seen in any Gospel account, we have to go back to the beginning, to the first time divinity breathed on humanity. At Creation, “the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being” (Gen 2:7). There is no clearer image than this of God’s desire to impart His own life into man, who is made in His image and likeness. Adam and Eve’s fall into sin robbed them (and us) of their inheritance as God’s children, but the entire story of salvation reveals God’s plan to restore and renew His life in us. So vivid is this image of God’s breath in man that it appears again at the time of the prophet, Ezekiel. God’s people, Israel, were in exile in Babylon; they had been ravaged by their enemies as punishment for their covenant unfaithfulness. They represent all of us who are spiritually dead and entirely helpless. However, in His unrelenting determination to restore His people, God says to Ezekiel (whom He called “son of man”): “’Son of man, can these bones live?’ And I answered, ‘O LORD God, Thou knowest.’ Again He said, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD…Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live…and you shall know that I am the LORD’” (Ez 36:3-6).

When we know this Old Testament history, Jesus breathing on the apostles on Resurrection Day no longer seems so odd, does it? In this gesture, He begins the divinization of man, always God’s intention for His children. The renewal of humanity begins, once again, with the breath of God. For the apostles, this unique action enabled them to truly be Jesus’ continuing presence on earth. They will forgive or retain sins, an action reserved for Divinity. What about the rest of us? Will the breath of God blow on us, too? The other readings will help answer this question.

Possible response: Father, thank You for loving us enough to share Your own breath with us—a marvel beyond description.

First Reading (Read Acts 2:1-11)

At His Ascension, Jesus told the apostles not to start on their mission of making disciples of all nations until they received “power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). This helps us see that Jesus’ action of breathing on them on Resurrection Day was an initiation into the Holy Spirit, not the fullness they were meant to have. For that, Jesus had them wait for the Jewish feast of Pentecost, nine days later. Pentecost originally had been a harvest festival in the Jewish liturgical calendar; gradually it also became associated with a memorial celebration of God’s giving of the Law to His people at Mt. Sinai, when they had been delivered from slavery in Egypt. The Law, or Torah, gave the people a way of life that would distinguish them from all other peoples on earth. To seal the covenant, God actually came down on top of Mt. Sinai, manifested in fire, smoke, thunder, an earthquake, and the loud sound of a trumpet (see Ex 19:16-19). It was quite the fireworks show!

We need to know this history, because it helps us understand why Jesus waited until Pentecost to send the Holy Spirit on His Church. Drawing on all the parallels with God’s visit to Mt. Sinai, the Jews gathered there in Jerusalem that day could comprehend this action as the “harvest” of God’s people, ready now, because of Jesus’ accomplished work, to receive God’s new Law of Love, to be written not on stone tablets but in the hearts of men by the Holy Spirit. Just as God’s descent on Sinai meant the formation of Israel as a nation, the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost meant the formation of Jews and Gentiles into the Church, the new Israel.

Of course, the events on Pentecost evoke the deep symbolism of wind and fire throughout the Old Testament, not just at the Mt. Sinai covenant. At Creation, “the wind” of God (literally, God’s “breath”) hovered over the waters of the earth, ready to do God’s bidding as He brought forth life (Gen 1:2). The “wind” of God also blew apart the waters of the Red Sea so God’s people could escape from their enemies, the Egyptians. As for fire, recall that God first appeared to Moses, the deliverer of His people, in a fiery bush. Also, the people had to follow a pillar of fire to make their way home to the Promised Land.

The more we know of the imagery representing God in the Old Testament, the more we understand the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost as an explosionof fulfilled promises! See that the tongues of fire rested over each of the apostles. They will now be God’s presence in His Church, leading His people on their journey home to heaven. To this day, the bishops of the Church, who are successors of these apostles, wear hats (mitres) in the shape of a flame of fire. They are marked out as our pillars of fire, leading us on our pilgrim journey home to heaven.

What about the effects of all this amazing action? The apostles were miraculously able to communicate the Gospel in the foreign tongues of the Jews assembled there. All male Jews were required to make a yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem for this feast; that explains why “there were devout Jews from every nation” there. This immediately evokes the history of Babel (see Gen 11:1-9). There human pride made a grab at heaven by building a tower up to God. The solidarity of men (made possible by one language) was perverted to accomplish an evil end. God broke it by confusing the one language into many. Now, in the fullness of time, God grants the human solidarity for which man longs (because he is made for that) but which he cannot naturally achieve. The Holy Spirit creates supernatural solidarity, represented here by all men being able to hear, in their own language, the mighty works of God. This time, God reaches down to man rather than man trying to climb up to God.

So, now that we understand something of the background of Pentecost, we can ask whether all the rest of us who aren’t apostles will also have a share in this breath of God. The answer is YES. In verses not included in today’s reading, Peter answers the “what about us?” question: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:28). Jesus wants to breathe on all of us and thus renew the face of the earth.

Possible response: Lord Jesus, may Your Church always live in the joy of Pentecost, in awe of Your power and presence.

Psalm (Read Ps 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34)

Today’s psalm celebrates the life-giving power of God’s Spirit. Written long before the Day of Pentecost, it nevertheless summarizes both the past and the future. “If you take away their breath, they perish and return to their dust” (Ps 104:29) reminds us of the Fall, at the beginning of man’s story. Disobedience led to death: “You are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19b). “When You send forth Your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth” (Ps 104:30) describes our celebration today. The world, weary in sin, is in dire need of refreshment and renewal. Maybe we are, too. The psalm response is the perfectPentecost prayer: “Lord, send out Your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.”

Possible response: The psalm is, itself, a response to our other readings. Read it again prayerfully to make it your own.

Second Reading (Read 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13)

The Gospel showed us God’s desire to once again breathe His life into man. The Book of Acts showed us that the gift of God’s breath, the Holy Spirit, entered the stream of human history on the Day of Pentecost, producing miraculous results. In the epistle, St. Paul gives us a theological reflection on the meaningof all this history. He explains that none of us can confess Jesus as Lord without the Holy Spirit. Our Christian faith is, itself, a work of God’s breath, the Spirit, in us. That Spirit gives to believers a wide variety of spiritual gifts, creating diversity of service in His Church. However, because it is “the same God” Who produces this diversity, we are “one body.” St. Paul’s emphasis here is on the unity created by the Holy Spirit. Let’s consider this for a moment.

Unity is the distinguishing characteristic of the Trinity—three Persons in One. Man, created in the image and likeness of God, is hard-wired for unity, for communion with both God and others. Sin shattered this unity (recall the immediate fracture of Adam and Eve’s relationship with God and each other in the Garden). Babel showed us that when men actually cobble together unity, their pride bends them towards a perverse use of it.

God’s descent on Mt. Sinai was for the purpose of forming one nation for Himself out of many tribes. He gave them one way to worship and one law to live by. In time, that nation fractured, and a large part of it completely disappeared. Men cannot create unity for themselves, although their hearts long for it. Fittingly, unity in His Church was the one thing for which Jesus prayed as He faced His Passion: “I…pray…that they may all be one…so that the world may believe that You have sent Me” (Jn 17:20-21).

On Pentecost, God sent His breath to create supernatural unity. It was experienced immediately among the first converts, and it is a constant manifestation of God’s breath in His Church, 2000 years later. The life of Jesus in us, the Holy Spirit, holds us in His one Body. Unity at last—alleluia!

Possible response: Lord Jesus, forgive me when I rebel against unity—wanting my own way, isolating myself. Let Your Spirit lead me to the unity for which my heart longs.

Pentecost: the Difference that the Spirit Makes

Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D.

As a teen, I thought the clergy were supposed to do everything. We laity were just called to pray, pay, and obey. Oh yes, and keep the commandments, of course. The original 10 seemed overwhelming enough. Then I discovered the Sermon on the Mount and nearly passed out.

Perhaps this is why many inactive Catholics are so resentful of their upbringing in the Church. For them, religion means frustration, failure, and guilt.

Somehow they, and I, missed the good news about Pentecost. OK, we Catholics celebrate the feast every year and mention it in Confirmation class, but lots of us evidently didn’t “get it.”

Because if we “got it,” we’d be different . . . bold instead of timid, energetic instead of anemic, fascinated instead of bored. Compare the apostles before and after Pentecost and you’ll see the difference the Spirit makes.

The gospel is Good News not just because we’re going to heaven, but because we’ve been empowered to become new people, here and now. Vatican II insisted that each of us is called to the heights of holiness (Lumen Gentium, chapter V). Not by will-power, mind you. But by Holy Spirit power. Holiness consists in faith, hope, and especially divine love. These are “virtues,” literally “powers,” given by the Spirit. To top it off, the Spirit gives us seven further gifts which perfect faith, hope, and love, making it possible for us to live a supernatural, charismatic life. Some think this is only for the chosen few, “the mystics.” Thomas Aquinas taught to the contrary that the gifts of Isaiah 11:1-3 (wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, piety, fortitude, and fear of the Lord) are standard equipment given in baptism, that all are called to be “mystics.”

Vatican II also taught that every Christian has a vocation to serve. We need power for this too. And so the Spirit distributes other gifts, called “charisms.” These, teaches St. Thomas, are not so much for our own sanctification as for service to others. There is no exhaustive list of charisms, though St. Paul mentions a few (I Corinthians 12:7-10, Romans 12:6-8) ranging from tongues to Christian marriage (1 Corinthians7: 7). Charisms are not doled out by the pastors; but are given directly by the Spirit through baptism and confirmation, even sometimes outside of the sacraments (Acts 10:44-48).

Do I sound Pentecostal? That’s because I belong to the largest Pentecostal Church in the world. Correcting the mistaken notion that the charisms were just for the apostolic church, Vatican II had this to say: “Allotting His gifts ‘to everyone according as he will’ (1 Cor. 12:11), He [the Holy Spirit] distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank. . . . These charismatic gifts, whether they be the most outstanding or the more simple and widely diffused, are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation, for they are exceedingly suitable and useful for the needs of the Church” (LG12).

Powerful gifts, freely given to all. Sounds like a recipe for chaos. But the Lord also imparted to the apostles and their successors a unifying charism of headship. The role of the ordained is not to do everything themselves. Rather, they are to discern, shepherd, and coordinate the charisms of the laity so that they mature and work together for the greater glory of God (LG 30).

So what if you, like me, did not quite “get it” when you were confirmed? I’ve got good news for you. You actually did get the Spirit and his gifts. Have you ever received a new credit card with a sticker saying “Must call to activate before using?” The Spirit and his gifts are the same way. You have to call in and activate them. Do it today and every day, and especially every time you attend Mass. Because every sacramental celebration is a New Pentecost where the Spirit and his gifts are poured out anew (CCC 739, 1106).

That’s why the Christian Life is an adventure. There will always be new surprises of the Spirit!

***

Marcellino D’Ambrosio (aka “Dr. Italy”) writes from Texas. For info on his resources or his Holy Land pilgrimages, connect with him via dritaly.com or on social media @dr.italy.

This is offered as a reflection upon the Scripture readings for the feast of Pentecost cycles A, B&C (Acts 2:1-11; Psa;, 104; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-14 and John 20:19-23). It is reproduced here with the permission of the author.

One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

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Pentecost

Acts 2:1-11
1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13 or
Galatians 5:16-25

View Readings

Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34
John 20:19-23 or
John 15:26-27; 16:12-15

Similar Reflections

“ONE SPIRIT” (EPH 4:4)

“Receive the Holy Spirit.” �John 20:22

Happy Pentecost! Happy birthday of the Church! Come, Holy Spirit! On this “last and greatest day of the festival,” Jesus continues to cry out: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me; let him drink who believes in Me. Scripture has it: ‘From within Him rivers of living water shall flow.’ (Here He was referring to the Spirit)” (Jn 7:37-39).

The Holy Spirit will come to us and through us renew the face of the earth (Ps 104:30). The Spirit will make us witnesses for the risen Christ (see Acts 2:32). He will give us the words to say (Mt 10:19-20), and people of all nations will believe that Jesus is Lord (see 1 Cor 12:3). Through faith, they will accept the Lord’s gift of salvation, and the world will be renewed.

The renewal of the earth, the acceptance of salvation, and our witnessing for Jesus depend to a large extent on Christians being united. Jesus is praying even now that we would be one as He and the Father are one so that the world will believe the Father sent Him (Jn 17:21). Our unity is the basis for faith, which is the basis for salvation (Eph 2:8), which is the basis for renewal. The Spirit will never renew the world unless He unites us.

Therefore, “it was in one Spirit that all of us…were baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12:13). “Make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin” (Eph 4:3). May peoples of all nations, denominations, and divisions repent, forgive and understand each other, and be one in the Spirit. Then all will be saved (1 Tm 2:4), and the world renewed. Come, Holy Spirit of unity!

Prayer: Father, in Jesus’ name, stir into flame the gift of the Spirit (2 Tm 1:6-7). Renew my Baptism and Confirmation.

Promise: “All were filled with the Holy Spirit.” �Acts 2:4

Praise: Praise Jesus, Who died, rose, and ascended so that we could be filled with the Holy Spirit! Alleluia!

Details

Date:
May 9, 2021

Organizer

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church
Phone:
(973) 473-0246

Venue

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
10 St. Francis Way
Passaic, NJ 07055 United States
+ Google Map
Phone:
973-473-0246
Website:
www.olmcpassaic.com