June 9, 2019 Pentecost Sunday

Welcome Father Cyril Today’s Readings: Acts 2:1-11 | 1 Cor 12:3B-7, 12-13 or Rom 8:8-17 | Jn 20:19-23 or Jn 14:15-16, 23B-26

The Jews were gathered for their celebration of Pentecost, that is seven weeks after celebrating the Passover. It was an agricultural festival of giving thanks for the early crop. Some of those Jews had become followers of Jesus and of course, as Jews, they were to come to Jerusalem for the feast. What we hear in the First Reading is the surprising event of a Holy Wind and Fire Storm.

This Spirit’s coming brings about great changes in the lives of those early “inspired” people. The ability to speak and understand different languages is only the first. They were enabled to understand and speak to the differences within the human community. As they were gathered together to give thanks to God for the abundance of the fields, these men and their followers were to spread the news “of the mighty acts of God.” Through the Acts of the Apostles, we read of these “mighty acts of God” which present a new sense of Pentecost.

[…] The new Pentecost is our celebration of how God’s Spirit, sent from the skies, brings forth a harvest of good works through the cooperation of human hands. In a sense, the Church is a “Pentecost.” It remains a gathering to give thanks for the abundance of “mighty acts of God” which are breathed into the human structure of the Church and into its members. We ponder, sing of, write about, and proclaim that God’s Spirit is faithful to God’s continuous creation. […]

A great way not to live is hiding because of fear. The Gospel pictures John’s view of how the Pentecost took place. Locked in, not even a real gathering, the remnant apostles seem to be sitting in separation. Jesus rises in their midst and after the greeting of peace breathes the Spirit upon their fragmentation. His presence removes their absence and they rejoice to hear his words and see the signs of his glory.

As in all his encounters with the broken, lost, and hurt, Jesus meets them in their past times, in their now-times, but he has a future-eye for their lives. Mission! Jesus meets the early Church and has a Reconciliation Service right on the spot. He says, “I do not retain your sins, so whose sins are you going to retain”? He will tell them that as he has been sent to them, and they are sent out to and into and for this world that he came to redeem. What a way to live!

The work of the Holy Spirit is to make flesh holy: incarnation, that is. We remember the story in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel where he was taken out into a valley covered with bones. God’s breath moved over this semi-cemetery. And flesh recovered the bones and the bodies recovered life.

This yearly celebration recalls the present, now-happening breathing of God’s Spirit among us. In our part of the northern hemisphere, grass, flowers, trees, berries and the ever-present dandelions are all in bloom. The warming breezes have brought our dead lands to life. It is this wonderful event of God’s continually bringing us back up to more life which is nature’s celebration. It is our celebration as well.

The Holy Spirit “overshadowed” the empty womb of Mary, “and there was Light” – but more, the Light Made Flesh. That same Spirit is sent to “overshadow” us and bring our flesh into that same “light” and “Life,” and bring forth the flesh of Jesus again and again. As our Jewish ancestors planted the crops and relied on God to give the increase, so do we, so does the Church in our times. The Spirit gives life through us to whom the Spirit has also given life. We plant the seeds and, like the warm breezes, God’s Spirit brings forth a new abundance of life.

Jesus is still breathing his Spirit upon us and continually urges us to “Mission!” He wants us to give life by forgiving and then through the holiness of the always-recovering, Spirit-charged, holy flesh of our bodies.

Reflection by Larry Gillick, SJ, on http://liturgy.slu.edu/PentecostC060919/reflections_gillick.html Source of image: CC BY-SA 2.0 / derivative work / bobosh_t / https://www.flickr.com/photos/frted/5713011900/

News

  • 9 June - Opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before mass, from 12:15 on.
  • 9 June - Let’s continue celebrating Pentecost after mass with our social gathering! If possible, bring a dish to share, or consider helping with the set-up (12:30) or clean-up.