FIRST READING (They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak.)
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (2:1-11)
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, the apostles 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.” —The Word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM (104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34)
Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. (Cf. Ps 104:30)
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)
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)
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)
SECOND READING (In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.)
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (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. —The Word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.
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.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. (R)
GOSPEL (As the Father sent me, so I send you: Receive the Holy Spirit.)
A reading from the holy Gospel according to 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.” —The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Receive the Holy Spirit!
Today’s Solemnity of Pentecost is a propitious day in the Church’s life. It is a day when we celebrate Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church and to each one of us who has been baptized.
When we read the Scriptures, we encounter many stories that retell the wondrous working of God in human history – in OUR history.
Some of the stories don’t appear so wondrous or special such as the way God speaks to the prophet Elijah in “a tiny whispering voice,” or some of the longer historical parts of the Old Testament.
But there are other stories filled with astonishing natural phenomena like the thunder, lightning and smoke that accompanied God’s revelation on Mount Sinai to Moses, or the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor standing with Moses and Elijah. Or the voice of God heard from the sky at the Baptism of Jesus. Today’s celebration of Pentecost belongs to this second group – as we see in our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles – they tell of “a powerful wind from heaven” – like the strong wind of a cyclone or hurricane, and then the writer speaks of “tongues of fire” appearing over the heads of those in the room – and then what happened? “They were filled with the Holy Spirit.” From a people who were terrified, frightened and in hiding, now by the power of the Holy Spirit they became courageous and confident, and they were now united in a new MISSION and a PURPOSE. They leave the place where they were hiding and go out to announce the good news of salvation in different languages – through the gift they received of the Holy Spirit.
On how do we describe these gifts? The Church numbers seven gifts: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. Our 2nd reading today helps us to understand what these “gifts” are – not something physical such as a birthday gift, or a gift someone gives to you wrapped nicely. For St. Paul, gift is translated as charisma – something special that each of us has received at Baptism and which is now activated in Confirmation. While Paul does not mention the traditional 7 Gifts, he reminds us that the GIFTS are meant to assist us in serving God and the Church. He tells us that this can be done in many various ways. We each have to grow to understand the gifts inside of us that God wants us to use for serving Him and the Church.
Last evening, we celebrated the Confirmation of 24 boys and girls of our parish community. They are now strengthened by the gifts of the Spirit, and we should ask ourselves how well we USE the gifts that were given to us at our own Confirmation?
Often, candidates for Confirmation wear a cross around their necks. This is to signify that – like St. Paul – they are ready to say and to proclaim “Jesus is Lord” because they will be filled with the Holy Spirit. They will no longer be afraid to say, “Yes, I am a Catholic. Yes, I believe in Jesus as Lord!” Do we show courage and confidence to live our faith in a culture that often makes fun of our moral principles and ethics? Do we show courage in the face of those who insult or degrade others? Do we stand up for what is right, no matter what others will say about us? Can we imitate the courage and faith, the conviction and mission of the apostles each day, especially when surrounded by turmoil and discord?
My friends, Pentecost is not simply a celebration of the birthday of the Church. It is more than that. It is a feast that calls us out from behind the locked doors of our life where, like the disciples in the first reading and Gospel, we may be hiding for fear of others. It is the feast that reminds us that we are truly people filled with the Holy Spirit, people who possess the gifts, the charisma, that the world so desperately needs today: wisdom for a world searching for meaning; knowledge for a world seeking insight; healing for a world torn apart by violence; prophecy for a world in need of direction; discernment of spirits for a world confronted by competing – and often negative – forces. Coincidentally, we celebrate Pentecost this year on the eve when we come out from months of social distancing and inability to join as a community for Mass – this nis our own emergence from that hidden room.
The Spirit sends each of us in MISSION into the world. The Spirit sends us as a community of faith here at St. Margaret’s in MISSION – who can we assist? Who can we help? Who can we lift up? Who can we serve?
The power of the Spirit worked wonders in and through the lives of the first disciples; the power of the Spirit has worked wonders in and through the lives of believers down through the ages. The Spirit filled the young men and women in our parish yesterday for their own unique MISSION in the church. Today they take a step towards adulthood in the Church, joining all of us under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to seek to serve all people in imitation of Christ the Lord, who came to serve not to be served.
The Gospel reminds us that God has indeed His Spirit breathed on us – touched us -, and we have been filled with the Holy Spirit. What wonders will the Spirit work in and through us today as a community? COME HOLY SPIRIT. Renew the face of the earth in and through us each day!
Celebrant: Since God endows us with the gift of his own life, by imparting the Holy Spirit, let us come to him with prayers inspired by the Holy Spirit. Let us come to him, alive and free in the divine presence.
READER: For all who have been signed and sealed with the Holy Spirit, especially in our parish this weekend, that our Church may be united as one body made of many parts, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: For the peoples of the world who do not know God, that the Spirit of truth proclaimed to every nation may indeed “renew the face of the earth,” (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: For the outpouring of the Spirit of peace, that men and women may know and experience the forgiveness of their sins, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: For this community gathered by God during these difficult weeks and months, that the Spirit who makes holy our eucharistic gifts may strengthen and refresh us, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: For the sick, the poor and the bereaved, and for the souls of the departed, that they may be made perfect in the life-giving Spirit, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
CELEBRANT: Father all-powerful, receive these prayers from a people made one by the Holy Spirit, who dwells with us for all time. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord. (all) AMEN.