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This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. This Feast celebrates the gift of the Spirit to the Church. 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, it doesn’t get the same attention as Christmas and Easter. This is regrettable because it is our belief that the Spirit leads and guides our Church as well as each of us individually. Moreover it is the gifts of the Spirit that enable and empower us to live as Christ has called us to live.
There are different readings that can be used on Pentecost. At the Basilica the second reading we will use 1Corinthians 12: 3b-7; 12-13. The Gospel will be John 20: 19-23.
Our Gospel reading this weekend is the story of an appearance of the resurrected Christ. Jesus came to his disciples even though “the doors were locked.” Twice he says to them: “Peace be with you.” Then he goes on to say: “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.” Jesus’ breathing on his disciples calls to mind God breathing the breath of life into Adam. (Gn. 2.7). It is spiritual life, though, that Jesus breathes into his disciples.
Our first reading this weekend is from the Acts of the Apostles. It recounts the first Pentecost when “tongues as of fire” came upon the disciples and they were all “filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.”
Our second reading this weekend is taken from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians. It reminds us that “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. Have you ever felt empowered by the Spirit to do something?
2. Some gifts of the Spirit are very evident/dramatic; some are more subtle, All are real, though, and all are necessary. What gifts of the Spirit have been given to you?
3. Why do you think Jesus told his disciples twice: “Peace be with you”?