Pentecost Sunday

First reading: 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.”

Second reading: 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.

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.”

In other words 

Fr. Bernard Espiritu, SVD (New Zealand)

Pentecost finds its origin in the Hebrew Scriptures’ Book of Leviticus (23:16–17). It is a feast Jews celebrate fifty days after Passover to mark their gratitude for the first fruits of the harvest. It celebrates and acknowledges the creative and collaborative fruits of God’s blessings and human labor together. Such tradition is vital to understanding the event in Jerusalem on Pentecost Day 33 AD. As there were varieties of first fruits, many tribes of people came as pilgrims to Jerusalem. The incredible moment happened when each woman and man of the “Jesus Tribe,” touched by the Holy Spirit, spoke in languages not their own that each pilgrim of another tongue understood their message. Pentecost is primarily a celebration of partnership: speaking and listening, grace (God’s graciousness), and work (human dedication). Its epitome happens when water and wine blend during the Preparation of the Gifts at Mass; best still in the Incarnation of the Word—the becoming one of the Divine and the human. Pentecost aims to bring harmony in unity and not uniformity.

Pentecost brings about community. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, points out the variety of gifts the Spirit entrusts to each person. The excellence of a gift is not found in itself but in the perfection it fulfills when it creates the Body of Christ. Each piece of the puzzle finds meaning and importance when related to the entire picture.

Pentecost brings life. In times of disillusion and loss, fear blocks the invitation to novelty. No wonder the first words of Jesus to his disillusioned and discouraged disciples after his death were, “Peace be with you.” But such words came at first only as ghostlike and haunting echoes, for they were so focused only on their guilt. Jesus had to simultaneously show the marks of his healed wounds caused by the nails of his crucifixion. With the marks of a healed past and the repetition of the first fruits of his Resurrection—“Peace be with you”—the disciples sparkled back with joy, another fruit of the Resurrection. Only when they experienced this fruit-of-gospel joy that Jesus was able to give the essential truth and reality of his legacy: the Breath of Life, the Holy Spirit—the fullness of the fruit of the Resurrection. To receive the Holy Spirit mirrors the truth that the Father sent Jesus. To be gifted with the Holy Spirit is creating his followers, his missionary-disciples, the bearers of forgiveness. The gift of joy, peace, and life happens when forgiveness becomes heartfelt.

Healing, peace, gospel joy, and forgiveness are the fruits celebrated by Christians on the Feast of Pentecost. These fruits are essential elements of a Synodal Church chat can give believers a future with hope.

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