Thoughts on the Readings for the Solemnity of Pentecost (A) 2017

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/060417-day-mass.cfm 

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost.  Along with Christmas and Easter, Pentecost  is really the third great Feast of our Church year.  Unfortunately, coming as it does at the beginning of summer, Pentecost doesn’t get nearly the attention that Christmas and Easter do.   And yet Pentecost, because it celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church, is very important.   

If we are honest, I think another reason why Pentecost doesn’t get the attention it deserves is that the Holy Spirit is the least understood member of the Trinity.   In fact, when I was growing up the Holy Spirit was referred to as the Holy Ghost.   And if you think understanding the Holy Spirit is difficult, you can only imagine what it was like for a teacher to explain the Holy Ghost.   And yet, the work of the Spirit is experienced in a variety of ways both in our Church and in our individual lives.   In this regard some of the words we use to speak of the work the Spirit are:  Animator, Counselor, Advocate, Guide, and Comforter.   We also speak of the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit.   While we may not have the precise clarity of understanding we would like in regard to the Holy Spirit, what is clear is that the work of the Holy Spirit is essential to our Church and our individual lives.  

Our readings for this weekend speak clearly of the work of the Spirit.   Our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells us of the very first Pentecost.    The gift of tongues, so that all people could hear of the “mighty acts of God” in their own language, reverses the “babel” that resulted when the people in Genesis tried to build a tower to the heavens.   The Gospel reading recounts the gift of the Holy Spirit to the first disciples.   And the Second reading from Corinthians reminds us that there are “different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. How would you describe the Holy Spirit to someone who didn’t come from a Christian background?
  2. How have you felt the Spirit working in your life?
  3. What gifts of the Spirit have you been given?
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