Pentecost Sunday, Year A, 31st May 2020

‘Peace be with you!’

Pentecost, seen as the birthday of the Christian Church, is the culmination of Eastertide. It is the day when we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the start of the Church’s mission to the world – a mission to bring people to God. We hear of this in the Gospel, when the risen Jesus comes to the disciples in the locked room bringing peace. He shows them his wounds, encouraging them to believe that he is indeed risen from the dead, and sends them out.

In the First Reading the disciples receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, bringing them courage and the ability to speak different languages. Now they can reach out to all nations, telling the peoples about God.

The Psalm praises God’s greatness, celebrating all the riches and goodness that the Spirit freely gives to ‘renew the face of the earth’.

The Second Reading speaks of the gifts that God’s Spirit gives to each one of us. Working together in different ways towards a common aim, Paul compares us to a human body – each part working towards the well-being of the whole.

As we celebrate Pentecost and the birthday of the Church, we might like to reflect on the particular role that God has for each one of us. This week, I might ponder the contribution that I myself can make to the mission of the Church, and to all those around me.

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Pentecost Sunday, Year C, 9th June 2019

The Spirit of God has made his home in you  … Everyone moved by the Spirit
is a child of God.

Today marks the climax of the great Fifty Days of Eastertide. Christians celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, and with it, the birth of the Church, the Body of Christ here on earth.

Jesus promises his disciples at the Last Supper that both he and the Father will love those who love them and their ways: together they will make their home with us.  Jesus also promises his followers the Holy Spirit, the ‘Advocate’, who will teach them everything and will be their comforter forever. (Gospel)

The poetic Psalm offers us a meditation on both the goodness of the creator God and the life-giving role of the Spirit on the face of the earth.

The First Reading from Acts describes how the Spirit fills the timid disciples with courage and also removes barriers between peoples. The success of the apostles as they preach in different languages reflects Christ’s universal mission.

In the Second Reading, Paul presents his understanding of the dynamic role of the Spirit of Christ. We now live in a new era, inhabited and dominated by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

This week, let us celebrate and ask to feel a sense of Spirit-filled awareness and joy, as we pray that we may work with the Trinity and each other in the service of the Church.

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Pentecost Sunday, Year B, 20th May 2018

Come, Holy Spirit

Eastertide ends with the glorious feast of Pentecost. In the liturgy of recent weeks, and especially with the Ascension, we, the disciples of Jesus, have been promised the gift of the Holy Spirit and his power.

The First Reading, which we hear each year, is a dramatic account of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles and of its wondrous effects. Today we celebrate the birth of the Church.

The Psalm is a hymn of praise to the Creator, and a prayer that he will fill us, his Church and the whole world, with his Spirit.

In the Second Reading, St Paul clearly distinguishes the difference between a life guided by the Spirit and that led by self-indulgence. We are encouraged to lead a Spirit-filled life, following Christ’s example and manifesting his gifts.

The Gospel takes us back to Jesus’s words at the Last Supper, and his promise to send the Holy Spirit, who is our Advocate, our teacher, and our memory. He is the Spirit of truth who will lead us to the complete truth. He is a witness to Christ, and we too share in this witness.

As we celebrate this climax of Eastertide, I may wish to spend time this week pondering what these last fifty days have meant to me.

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