ICCH Bulletin of June 5, 2022
June 5, 2022 Pentecost Sunday
Welcome Father Martin Today’s Readings: Acts 2:1-11 | 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13 | Jn 20:19-23
Pentecost means fiftieth day. It was the second of three great Jewish Feasts. For the Jews, it was a day of gratitude. It was a day of thanksgiving for the completion of the harvest. However, on this day a great transformation took place in the small group of disciples. They were persons perplexed, scared, dumbfounded, and disappointed, which kept them closeted in a little upper room. Rightly, we are not told where that room was situated. We only know that room was in a house in Jerusalem and people had come to Jerusalem from every nation to express their harvest gratitude. They spoke different languages; they came with different intentions; they had different motives. It is this motley group who witnessed a sound that made them assemble together. To their astonishment, some Galileans spoke to them in their own native language. To their surprise, some unheard of illiterates spoke the language they understood so well. We all know how difficult it is to learn another language. Yet we are told that these disciples spoke and people, coming from various nations, understood them. It is the hearers and not the speakers who make this claim! This was the novel experience of the new harvest, Pentecost! Indeed as St Paul tells us that no one can say, “Jesus is Lord” unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of John tells us: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Here we have the mission of Jesus: He greets the disciples with the traditional salutation and then asks them to continue his work. He breathes on them and gives them the Spirit and confers on them the power to forgive the sins of people. He tells them: “As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.” The baton is being passed. They have a job to do and it is exactly what Jesus himself came to do – to establish the Kingdom on earth. In Greek, the word for ‘breath’ and ‘spirit’ are the same. The breathing recalls God breathing life into the dust and bringing the first human being into existence. Here too there is a kind of new creation, as the disciples are re-created into the ‘new person’ that Paul will speak about in his letters, a person filled with the Spirit of Jesus and mandated to continue his work. Their work is specifically explained. They are to be the reconcilers in the world. “For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.” This is their job, to be agents of God to bring reconciliation between God and Man and Man and Man. Reconciliation means the healing of wounds, of all forms of division. This is the work of the Kingdom. It is what we are called to do. This role of reconciliation is the special gift of Jesus through the Spirit to perform the divine task. Christ promises that he would continue his care of his disciples.
Jesus tells his disciples that those who keep his Words are privileged to enjoy the indwelling of the fullness of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, which will come and make their home in them. The gift of the Spirit is a fruit of Christ’s mediation, bought by his merit, and received by his intercession. The word used here, signifies an advocate, counsellor, monitor, guide, and comforter. He would abide with the disciples to the end of time; his gifts and graces would encourage their hearts. The expressions used here and elsewhere, plainly denote a person, and the office itself includes all the Divine perfections. The gift of the Holy Spirit is bestowed upon the Disciples of Christ, and not on the world. This is the favour God grants to his chosen people. If we receive gifts as the disciples received gifts on Pentecost, it is for the benefit of the whole Body of Christ. Through the growth of the Body of Christ, we grow alongside the other faithful members of the Church.
The church tells us of the seven gifts of the Spirit. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are the following: Wisdom – the desire for the things of God, and to direct our whole life and all our actions to His honour and glory. Here we see God at work in our lives and in the world. Second, Understanding – enables us to know more clearly the mysteries of faith. It perfects a person’s speculative reason in the apprehension of truth. Third, Counsel – warns us of the deceits of the evil one, and of the dangers to salvation. With the gift of right judgment, we know the difference between right and wrong, and we choose to do what is right. Fourth, Fortitude (courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risks as a follower of Jesus Christ. It strengthens us to do the will of God in all things. Fifth, Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, the Spirit enables us to discover the will of God in all things. Sixth, Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the church. And finally the seventh, Fear of the Lord (awe of God) – With the gift of wonder, prayerful respect, and awe we are aware of the glory and majesty of God.
Today’s feast rounds off the tremendous mysteries that we have been commemorating since Holy Week – the Passion, the Death, the Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus culminates in the sending of the Spirit of the Father and the Son on his disciples. As has been said previously, we are not dealing here merely with separate historical incidents but with one reality – the extraordinary intervention of God into our lives by what we can only call the “mystery” of Christ. And today’s feast indicates that it is an ongoing reality, which still touches our lives every single day. This week, let us reflect upon the purpose of the Holy Spirit in the Church. He can guide and teach us according to the purpose that He has been sent by the Lord God.
Source: Shortened from https://msjnov.wordpress.com/2022/05/30/pentecost-sunday-june-05-2022/ Image: Depiction of the Christian Holy Spirit as a dove, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, in the apse of Saint Peter’s Basilica, c. 1660
- 5 June - We will meet after Mass for Social Gathering this Sunday. Please feel welcome to join us for some coffee whilst we get to know ourselves better.
- 5 June - On this Sunday, we will have a children’s church parallel to Mass. During this period, they will have the chance to learn about the Mass in a unique way suitable for their age. We will thus encourage you to bring your kids along to Mass so they can be a part of this.
- 6 June - There will be no English Mass at ICCH on Pentecost Monday
- 12 June - Confessions in English after Mass