Reading 1: Acts 2:1-11
Psalm Response: Psalm 104
Reading II: 1st Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
Gospel: John 20:19-23
This will be a reflection of personal application of how the Scriptures for this Sunday moved in my life this week, not Scriptural exegesis. Pentecost is one of my favorite Christian holy days, right up there with Christmas and Easter. On Christmas we celebrate receiving God's gift of Jesus coming into the world, and on Pentecost we celebrate receiving the Holy Spirit coming into the church.
In Acts, the disciples were all together in one place, and from the sky came a noise like a strong wind, and it filled the house where they were, and came to rest on each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
In the Psalms, God sends his breath to the earth's creatures and they are created. When he takes away their breath, they return to the dust.
1st Corinthians says 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.
According to the Gospel, Jesus came and stood in the midst of the disciples, while they were locked away, hiding in fear, and said to them, "Peace be with you." He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
Yesterday I was blessed to be able to attend an ordination ceremony for two priests. One part of the ceremony involved the numerous priests present who were already ordained processing up and one by one, laying their hands upon the priests being ordained. Each imparted a blessing of the Holy Spirit upon the newly ordained. Each individual was given a manifestation of the Spirit, and each shared in the one Spirit. The archbishop specially annointed the hands of the newly ordained in the Holy Spirit with these words:
The Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, guard and preserve you that you may sanctify the Christian people and offer sacrifice to God.
I was especially touched to see the reverence with which some of the priests laid their hands on the new priests, clearly praying for them in holiness and blessing them. I saw that each priest was an individual with different strengths and different gifts, like all of us.
I remember my own confirmation, when our priest laid his hands on my head and imparted the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit came as a strong driving wind in the account in Acts, and as the very breath of Jesus in the Gospel of John. It is important to listen to the Holy Spirit in our own lives, and to be joyfully open to the moments when the Spirit does move.
God works in mysterious ways in our lives sometimes. Christians speak of it often, the movements of the Spirit. The Spirit that gives us right judgement, wisdom, awe of the Lord, understanding. I was speaking with a co-worker this week while at a funeral. She asked me if any close relatives of mine had died. I later returned her question, and she shared a story of a relative who had lived her in a nursing home. She really was not close to that relative and had not visited them. However, one day she felt she should go to visit, and did. She had a wonderful visit. Later that week the relative died. She was so glad to have been able to spend some time with that person before they died, that she had gone when she did. That prompting may have been the Holy Spirit in her, telling her to visit that day.
I remember a man who told me once that whenever he was in a difficult moment, he prayed to the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit came into the situation immediately. That witness of his moved me, and I have found it to be true in my own life. I can ask the Holy Spirit to come and bring me the peace of Christ, and the Lord is kind to always share his presence. In another sense his presence is with us always, abiding with us forever as Jesus promised, and sometimes the asking is what helps us to recall who we are and to accept the reality of that Holy Presence.
Holy Spirit still and sweet
Good and right and You
You surprise me with your peace
When You come I have to stop and rest
Could rest forever in the moment
Of calm and enveloping You
The One so sweetly still and true
The Gift of the Holy Spirit is indeed the greatest gift, as it is the very presence of God our creator, who gave us breath and life itself.
Happy Pentecost to all of you!
Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.