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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Pentecost Sunday

1st 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».
Responsorial Psalm: 103
R/. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
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.

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.

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.
2nd Reading (1Cor 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: 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.
Versicle before the Gospel (---): Alleluia. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Jn 20,19-23): On the evening of that day, the first day after the Sabbath, the doors were locked where the disciples were, because of their fear of the Jews, but Jesus came and stood in their midst. He said to them, «Peace be with you»; then He showed them his hands and his side. The disciples kept looking at the Lord and were full of joy. Again Jesus said to them, «Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you». After saying this He breathed on them and said to them, «Receive the Holy Spirit; for those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained».

«Receive the Holy Spirit»

Mons. Josep Àngel SAIZ i Meneses Bishop of Terrassa (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the day of Pentecost, the fulfillment of the promise Christ made the Apostles is finally accomplished. The evening of that Easter day He breathed on them and said to them: «Receive the Holy Spirit» (Jn 20:22). The Holy Spirit's arrival on the Day of Pentecost renews and brings this gift to plenitude in a solemn way and with external manifestations. Thus culminates the paschal mystery.

Jesus conveys the Spirit into the disciples to create a new human condition while producing unity. When man's arrogance made him think he could defy God by building the Babel tower, God mixed their languages so they could not understand each other any more. With the Pentecost it just happens the contrary: on the grace of the Holy Spirit, people from the most varied origins and languages can understand the Apostles.

The Holy Spirit is the intimate and personal Master who guides the disciple towards the truth, who motivates him to do good, who consoles him in the pain, who transforms him intimately, while giving him a new strength and capacity.

The first day of the Pentecost of the Christian era, the Apostles were gathered around the Virgin Mary, while praying. The recollection, and the praying attitude, are necessary to receive the Spirit. «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» (Acts 2:2-3).

They remained full of the Holy Spirit and, bravely, they started to preach. Those fearful men had been transformed into courageous preachers unafraid of gaol, torture or martyrdom. Which should not surprise us, for the Holy Spirit’s strength dwelt within them.

The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, is my soul's soul, the life of my life, the entity of my entity; it is my sanctifier, the guest in my deepest interior. To reach maturity in a life of faith our relation with Him must be, time and again, more conscientious, more personal. In this celebration of the Pentecost we must have the doors, deep down us, wide open.



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