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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 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.”

“Receive the Holy Spirit”

Mons. José Ángel SAIZ Meneses, Archbishop of Seville (Sevilla, Spain)

Today, on Pentecost, the promise that Christ made to the Apostles is fulfilled. On the evening of Easter Sunday, He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20:22). The coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost solemnly renews and brings to completion this gift with outward manifestations. Thus, the Paschal mystery is culminated.

The Spirit that Jesus conveys creates a new human condition in the disciple and fosters unity. When arrogance led people to challenge God by building the Tower of Babel, God confused their languages, and they could not understand each other. At Pentecost, the opposite occurs: by the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles were understood by people of the most diverse origins and languages.

The Holy Spirit is the inner Teacher who guides the disciples towards truth, who motivates them to do good, who comforts them in pain and transforms them internally, giving them new strength and capacity.

On the first Pentecost of the Christian era, the Apostles were gathered together with the Virgin Mary, and they were in prayer. Solitude and a prayerful attitude are essential 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).

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to preach boldly. Those men, once fearful, had been transformed into courageous preachers who did not fear imprisonment, torture, or martyrdom. It's not surprising; the power of the Spirit was in them.

The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, is the soul of my soul, the life of my life, the being of my being; He is my sanctifier, the guest of my innermost self. To mature in the life of faith, it is essential that our relationship with Him becomes increasingly conscious and personal. On this Pentecost celebration, let us throw open the doors of our inner being.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “For where the Church is, there also is God's Spirit; where God's Spirit is, there is the Church and every grace” (Saint Irenaeus of Lyon)

  • “The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation flows directly from the Paschal Mystery. Forgiveness is not the fruit of our own efforts but rather a gift, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit who fills us with the the wellspring of mercy and of grace that flows unceasingly from the open heart of the Crucified and Risen Christ” (Francis)

  • “The Apostle's Creed associates faith in the forgiveness of sins not only with faith in the Holy Spirit, but also with faith in the Church and in the communion of saints. It was when he gave the Holy Spirit to his apostles that the risen Christ conferred on them his own divine power to forgive sins” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nº 976)