The Pentecost Sunday – 28th May 2023.
Lectionary Readings: Acts 2:1-11; Ps. 103:1.24.29-31.34; 1Cor. 12:3-7.12-13; Jn. 20:19-23.
Theme: Spirit of UNITY
his Sunday’s theme is, of course, the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to all! It is the Holy Spirit who gives us life, renews, builds the community, and gives birth to the renewed People of God.
The First Reading from Acts of the Apostles describes the events of the day of Pentecost. The Apostle Luke has the clear theological intention of presenting his catechesis: using images, symbols, and the poetic language of metaphors. Pentecost – Shavuot – a Jewish feast, celebrated fifty days after Passover, was originally an agricultural feast, in which God was thanked for the harvest of barley and wheat. But, in the 1st Century, it became the historical feast that celebrated the covenant, the gift of the Law on Sinai and the constitution for the People of God. By placing the gift of the Spirit on this day, Luke suggests that the Spirit brings God’s Covenant to fulfilment.
At Pentecost we have the opposite idea of Babel (Gn 11:1-9) where people chose pride, and excessive ambition that led to separation and misunderstanding. At Pentecost, we return to unity, to relationships, to building a community capable of dialogue, understanding, and communication.
In the second Reading, we see that the Corinthian community, ever fervent, was not an exemplary community in terms of living love and solidarity. Some who had more “gifts” felt privileged and chosen by God. Paul shows the inconsistency of these behaviors, incompatible with the Gospel. Paul’s message is clear: the “gifts” we receive cannot generate conflicts and divisions but must serve the common good and reinforce community living.
In the Gospel of St. John, the evangelist presents the community of the fulfilled covenant, but one that has not encountered the risen Christ and has not become aware of the implications of the resurrection. The community needs to experience the Spirit; only then will it be prepared to assume its mission in the world.
The mission is to announce and bear witness to the Risen Christ, having Jesus as a reference model. But today if we look at our communities, can we say that we find and know these “signs” of Jesus? The Christian community only exists consistently if it is centered on Jesus. He is your identity and your reason for being. It is in Him that we overcome our fears, our uncertainties, and our limitations, to set out on the adventure of witnessing the new life of the Children of God.
May the Holy Spirit renew in us at Pentecost the missionary ardor and the desire to be more and more like Christ, being more patient, loving and open to what is different. May we be more aware of the Spirit’s continuing presence in us and in our communities: being attentive to his appeals, his indications, and his questions.
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. What is your relationship to the Holy Spirit? 2. Do you ever meditate on Gal 5:22-26 and examine how you are living the fruits of the Spirit? 3. When last did you meditate on Isaiah 11:1-3 and pray for those gifts in different challenging moments in your life?
Bibliography: McKenzie, J.L. Dictionary of the Bible (New York: 1965)
This week’s Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Nayon Nigel Cezar, NDS. Israel, Bat Kol Contributor.