Reflections

PENTECOST SUNDAY, JUNE 9, 2019 

Come Holy Ghost Creator Come!

1. A Spirit of Understanding
2. The Spirit of Openness
3. The Spirit of Enthusiasm 

Introduction
1. The Spirit of Understanding
It is admirable that people can understand one another even when they speak different languages. Their good will, their gestures, their smiles make them see what others try to say or do. At the first Pentecost people understood one another: they heard the message of Christ in their own language, despite all their variety. The Spirit made them capable of doing so. We too speak our own languages: not only different mother tongues but the languages of our different cultures and personalities, even of the different ways we live our faith. May the Spirit of Pentecost make us understand and appreciate one another and unite us in one bond of faith and love. 

2. The Spirit of Openness
How timid we often are, preoccupied with our own little concerns, living in our own little worlds! Today, on Pentecost, we celebrate the Holy Spirit. He tells us to open doors and windows, to break out of our ghettos of fear and timidity and to make it courageously known to all with our words and our lives that God has made us free and rich. We cannot keep him for ourselves but must share him with the whole world. Let this Spirit come down on us, Jesus’ disciples of today. 

3. The Spirit of Enthusiasm
Today is the great feast of Pentecost, when the Spirit of God came down on the apostles. In the drabness and routine of life, even of the Christian life, we need a fresh breath to renew our blood, a strong wind to blow away our fears and to steer our sails in the journey of life, fire to spark us with fresh enthusiasm, light to show us the road to follow. God’s Spirit was there in fire and storm when the apostles were afraid and timid. God’s Spirit is here with us now with his fire and his mighty wind, or perhaps very quietly, to blow new energy into us and to light a new fire in us. Let him come and let him move us. It is our Pentecost. 

First Reading: The Spirit Comes as a Mighty Storm
Loud noise, a mighty storm, fire, languages—these symbols used to describe the first Christian Pentecost tell us forcefully that here something totally new is happening. God’s Spirit of power is breaking through to bring divided humankind together in a community where there is room for all. 

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
R. (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.

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.

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.

Second Reading: The Spirit of God Lives in You
Thanks to the Spirit, the resurrection of Christ is already active in us; it enables us to give up the works of evil and makes us free to live as God’s children. 

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. 

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
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. 

Gospel: The Spirit Will Be with You Forever
Jesus goes to the Father, but he will continue to guide us and the whole Church through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will remind us continually of Jesus. 

Gospel: 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.” 

Commentary
How does God come down? Smoke came forth from his nostrils
And scorching fire from his mouth: Coals were set ablaze by its heat. (Ps 17). This display of anger was meant for the enemy, certainly, but it is still a frightful image of God. By way of contrast, read these lines by Jessica Powers on today’s feast of Pentecost:
That was the day when Fire came down from heaven,
inaugurating the first spring of love.
Blood melted in the frozen veins, and even
the least bird sang in the mind’s inmost grove. 
James and John once asked Jesus to send fire from heaven to burn up the Samaritans, who had offered no hospitality. He told them, more or less, to grow up (Lk 9:55). But a year or two later, fire of a different kind did come down on the Samaritans, at the hands of Peter and John, “The apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit…. Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” 

May the Holy Ghoooooooooost fire come down upon us.

Blessing
Often we are timid, afraid to risk our person,
to live consistently what we believe in,
for we don’t know where involvement will lead us.
It is imprudent by human standards
to place ourselves into the hands of people
and even of the Spirit.
May God give us this courage and foolish wisdom,
and may he bless you,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen. 
Go in peace and may the Spirit of Christ
be your guide in all you do. Alleluia! Alleluia!
R/ Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!

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