FEASTING ON THE WORD
"If you meditate on the Scriptures it will appear to you in its brilliant splendor." ―St. Pio of Pietrelcina
Solemnity of Pentecost ( C )
Acts 2:1-11 | Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34 | 1 Corinthians 12:3B-7, 12-13 | John 20:19-23
Today we celebrate Pentecost – the coming of the Holy Spirit, the birthday of the church, the end of the Easter season. Pentecost comes from a Jewish harvest festival called Shavuot. It represents the first fruits gathered as the result of labor of those who completed the spring grain harvests. God chose the first Pentecost after Jesus Christ’s resurrection to demonstrate that God is harvesting the first fruits who came into the Kingdom as a result of Peter's preaching that day.
Teacher Meday was handed the following note by one of her students: "Dear Teacher, Please excuse Leanna for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the front door, and when we found it on Monday, we thought it was Sunday. Sorry, we were so confused."
In Genesis 11:1-9, humanity decides to build a tower that will reach heaven, thereby making them God’s equals. God confuses the speech of those building the Tower of Babel and they can no longer communicate with each other. Their effort to make a name for themselves fails, of course. The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles recalls how the descent of the Holy Spirit reverses the confusion of the tower of Babel. When the Holy Spirit came upon those present, they began to speak in languages they could not know, so that foreigners heard of the mighty acts of God.
In a Peanuts cartoon Lucy demanded that Linus change TV channels, threatening him with her fist if he didn't. "What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?" asks Linus. "These five fingers," says Lucy. "Individually they're nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold." "Which channel do you want?" asks Linus. Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, "Why can't you guys be united like that?"
The gift of the Holy Spirit, St. Paul tells us in our second reading, graces us with unity. God sent his breath to create unity— the distinguishing characteristic of the Holy Trinity. Man, created in the image and likeness of God, is hard-wired for unity, for communion with both God and others. We understand that Jesus is Lord and we are his body. Every one of us, no matter if we are young or old, rich or poor, male or female, is an essential part of that body. And that body, of which we are all members, is the Church.
Two little brothers, Tristan and Rome, had finished supper and were playing until bedtime. Somehow, Tristan hit Rome with a stick, and tears and bitter words followed. Charges and accusations were still being exchanged as their mother prepared them for bed. She said, “Now boys, what would happen if either of you died tonight and you never had the opportunity again for forgive one another?” Rome spoke up, “Well, Okay, I’ll forgive him tonight, but if we’re both alive in the morning, he’d better look out.”
How often do we hold onto our grudges and choose not to forgive? In our Gospel, the risen Jesus greeted his disciples with words of peace. Our Lord gives them a mission, breathes on them so as to confer on them the Holy Spirit, and then announces to them that they have the power to forgive and retain sins. Disunity in our communion with God and others is repaired through the sacrament of penance and reconciliation. Forgiveness is letting go of your right to be right. It means offering up your anger and letting go of your desire to retaliate or revenge - leaving justice to God. We must forgive not because our enemies and persecutors deserve forgiveness but because we deserve peace.
In this Holy Eucharist, let us continue to pray, “Veni, Sancte Spiritus! – Come, Holy Spirit: dispel the confusion in us, bring us to communion with God and others and teach us to forgive one another:
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth. O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. <enrique,ofs>
Jeff Jacinto, PhD, DHum