Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pentecost Sunday - The Descent of the Holy Spirit - Roman Catholic

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Today's Readings:

First Reading:      Acts 2:1-11

Psalm:                Ps 104: 1ab, 24ac, 29bc-30, 31, 34

Second Reading: 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Gal 5:16-25

Gospel Reading:  Jn 20:19-23 or Jn 15:26-27; 16:12-15

 

Today's Question:  How is the Holy Spirit working in your life?

Pentecost was one of the three pilgrimage feasts of the Jews, when all who were able came to the Temple in Jerusalem; thus, the presence of so many forigners in Jerusalem that day.  All the disciples were gathered into one place.  Acts of the Apostles 1:13-14 identifies these disciples as Eleven, Mary, the mother of Jesus, the women who journeyed with Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem (see Luke 8:1-3; 23:49), and his relatives.  The cosmic sign of the strong driving wind attracted the crowd.  (In Greek, the language in which Acts was originally written, the same word is used for both "wind" and "spirit.")  Note also the sign of "fire."  The fruit of the Spirit's presence and work is the disciples' ability to proclaim the Gospel in various tongues and be understood by those who heard them.

The setting of today's Gospel text is Jesus' last discourse to his disciples, at table with them the night before he died.  Jesus promises to send the Spirit, an Advocate on their behalf, the Spirit of truth.  Note the intimate workings between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit and how the disciples are drawn into this by the power of the Spirit at work in their lives.  One their part, the disciples must receive what the Spirit declares to them and testify on Jesus' behalf.

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One of the most striking scenarios in today's Gospel is how Jesus promises to send an "advocate."  When we hear the word "advocate" we often thinking of people who are "sticking up" for others or who are "acting on a persons behalf."  These are all very good images of advocates, but what does this mean for us in a spiritual context?  Who do you look to as your "advocate in your life?" 

Working in ministry, parish life, and in health and human services can be draining.  Many of us who serve in these areas - including Catholic organizations (and other religious organizations, schools, hospitals, and in the "service" industry) know what it is like to burn out and run out of energy.  We go and go and go some more.  We continue on the beaten path and do not always take care of ourselves.  Who is advocating for you as a "minister?" 

Let the Holy Spirit be your Advocate and guide.  Allow the transformative nature of the Holy Spirit to not only renew the "face of the earth" as today's psalm says, but to renew your heart, your ministry and your life.

Today's Prayer:

O God, who bestow heavenly gifts upon your Church, safeguard, we pray, the grace you have given, that the gift of the Holy Spitiy poured out upon her may retain all its force and that this spiritual food may gain her abundance of eternal redemption.  Through Christ our Lord.

(Prayer taken from the Roman Missal, Prayer after Communion, Pentecost Sunday, copyright 2010, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)