Scripture Reflection . . .
First Reading: Acts 2:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 104 “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.”
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12: 3-13
Gospel: John 20:19-23
In today’s Scripture reading we hear two different accounts of the pouring forth of the Spirit on Pentecost. Acts describes a “noise like a strong driving wind” that filled the house where the disciples were gathered after Jesus’ ascension. In the Gospel of John, the disciples are gathered together just after Jesus’ death and resurrection. They are afraid. Jesus comes into the midst of their fear and offers them peace. Then “he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ Following this gift Jesus utters these words, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
I don’t know about you, but for me what follows such an awesome event as the breath of God; God giving God’s very Spirit to the disciples (and to us), must be significant: Jesus speaks of forgiveness.
There are times when our state of being needs the gentle unassuming arrival of the Holy Spirit – like a quiet breath- anything more might overwhelm us or be more than we can take in. The disciples were gathered together out of fear for their lives. Their beloved teacher had just been killed and they ran away. They probably were also feeling deep shame and sorrow. An earthshaking arrival of the Spirit would have been too terrifying for them and their hearts and minds may not have been open to receive the gift.
Then there are times when we are physically, emotionally, mentally ready & open to receive the noisy gust of God’s exuberant Spirit. In Acts, the disciples had just witnessed Jesus’ ascension and received the call to be sent forth along with Jesus’ promise that he would be with them always (Matthew 28:20). They have been forgiven and are now free.
Forgiveness. This appears to be one of Jesus’ primary teachings and hope for humanity. Is not the merciful love of God at the heart of Jesus’ actions and words? Perhaps this is why the disciples are given this message along with Holy Spirit. They experienced the deep peace at knowing they are forgiven for running away as Jesus suffered and died. They are now set free to love and forgive others.
Our ability to forgive and be forgiven may be what opens our hearts to receive the Spirit. If we hold onto or retain a sin (hurt, grudge, fear, false message, shame, etc) the door for the Spirit to enter remains closed & locked. Because we have a merciful and loving God, God’s Spirit will not forcefully find a way into our lives. The Spirit of God cones like a gentle breath always to bring peace into our fear. When we are ready to breathe fully and deeply, free from anything that binds us or seems unforgivable, the Spirit will rush upon us & fill us with a flame of God’s love that will “renew the face of the earth”!
In Our Lives as Sisters of The Holy Redeemer . . .
We rejoice this day because we know and believe we are loved and forgiven – we are already redeemed. The Spirit has set us free to now be this presence to others.
On Memorial Day we gathered for Mass to pray for peace and firgiveness in our world and for all those who lives have been taken in war.
Creation is a space in which the Spirit of peace and unity may be more easily recognized. This past week we welcomed 2nd grade students to the school garden and high school students for a service day in our community garden. We also began offering a farm market to share the fruits of the earth.
One of our Sisters participated in a local township community event to share the healing and peace inherent in our art ministry. She has truly been given a gift for this ministry!
Our Redeemer Ministry Corps volunteer and her director went on a retreat this weekend as she draws near the end of this year-long experience. We pray for the Spirit of peace to continue to guide and inspire her as she prepares to go forth.
In Your Life . . .
The following reflection was shared by our Province leader. We now share it with you for your prayer this Pentecost.
Pentecost – Malcolm Guite
Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire, air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.
Blessings of Spirit-filled peace on your week!