Pentecost Sunday – 5th June 2022
Lectionary Readings: Acts 2:1-11; Ps. 104:1.24.29-31.34; Rom. 8:8-17; Jn. 14:15-16.23-26
Theme: A new key to interpreting ourselves and history
John’s Gospel describes a difficult situation experienced by the disciples: behind closed doors, afraid of what might happen to them in the future. The Risen One appears, piercing that thick fear to say to them: “Peace be with you.” At that moment, he shows them the wounds caused by the cross; and breathes on them. This breath must be read as a quotation from the moment of creation, when God kneads man from the fatigue of clay, from the fragility of the earth, and blows into his nostrils so that man can become a living creature on this world, with all that this means.
This is not a simplistic allegory. We can always repeat this event in our lives. The vital breath is the Holy Spirit who always comes to bring meaning and offers us a new interpretation of the raw material of reality. The Risen One does not suspend this situation but empowers the disciples to have the ability to understand and live everything differently. The great transformation of Pentecost is, therefore, the offering of a surprising horizon of understanding, an opening of the gaze, a turning point, a new key to the interpretation of ourselves and of history. Without the Holy Spirit, we are just dust, just clay; we are just what you see from here, what dies here, every day, and every hour. He is the Spirit who makes us greater than we are.
This is what the account of Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles also reminds us of: each one expresses himself in his own language, but all find themselves capable of understanding each other in diversity. This Holy Spirit conspires so that we can create bonds of fraternity and communion. Is this not what the letter to the Ephesians also tells us when it says: “The heathens are admitted to the same inheritance, they are members of the same body and beneficiaries of the same promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph 3:6) Admitted to the same heritage of Judaism, in the same reception of Instruction, light and Torah (Pr 6, 23) on Shavuot, and not substitutes for the first heirs. They are called to give life and continuity to the sanctification of the world as well, to improve the “dream of Pope Francis when he invites us to dream as a single humanity, as walkers of the same human flesh, as children of the same earth, each one with the wealth of their faith or convictions, each with his own voice, but all brothers” (Fratelli Tutti, 8).
Yes, the Holy Spirit must remind us and teach us (Jn. 14:26) to witness to our faith in today’s world, having as a compass that guides us, the Good News announced by Jesus Christ who, because of it, cannot yet conform or be silent with the spectacle of the war in question. May the Holy Spirit help us to ferment new human and just relationships where the issue of the community and brother- and sisterhood are urgent and necessary priorities for all.
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. What does it mean to say that just as oxygen is vital to us, the Holy Spirit is also vital? 2. How can we assume continuity between Shavuot and Pentecost today?
MENDONÇA, José Tolentino. Jornal o Expresso. Portugal. Edição 2534 – 21 de maio de 2021.
PAPA FRANCISCO, Fratelli Tutti.
XAVIER, José Donizete. The challenge of practicing faith in the urban world in the light of Paul Ricoeur’s thinking. Rev. Pistis Praxis, Teologia Pastoral Curitiba, v.14, n. 1, p. 172-198. jan/abr.2022.
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Fernando Gross, Brazil, Bat Kol Alumnus: 2017, 2018, 2019