Monday, May 14, 2018

Feast of Pentecost - May 20, 2018

The Feast of Pentecost  Year B

Reading I:  Acts 2:1-11

Psalm:  104

Reading II:  1 Corinthians 12: 3b-7,
Gospel:  John 20:19-23  or
               John 15:26-27;16:12-15

The liturgy today is very rich as we celebrate the birthday of the Church.
I shall begin by focusing on the Preface of the Mass:

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

              For, bringing your Paschal Mystery to completion,         
              You bestowed the Holy Spirit today
              on those you made your adopted children
              by uniting them to your only begotten Son.
              This same Spirit, as the Church came to birth,
              opened to all peoples the knowledge of God
              and brought together the many languages of the earth
              in profession of one faith.

 Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI, president of the Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, Texas,  wrote a powerful reflection: “Keeping our Loved Ones Connected to the  Body of Christ.”  According to this Oblate Missionary of Mary, by receiving the Holy Spirit, we become one with our Lord and are called to do all the things Jesus did, “including the forgiveness of sins and the binding of each other, through love, to the family of God.” (The full text of  Fr. Ron Rolheiser’s reflection can be accessed at  Then scroll down to 2005 and
click on August 7.)

Father Ron acknowledged that this is partly a mystery.
However, we can understand it because...

           A loving mother knows that the family still includes a given
           child, even if that person is struggling in ways that don’t
           allow for him or her to be home and at the family table on
           a given night. Love binds, loosens, forgives, and holds others
           in union even within the painful contingencies of immaturity,
           absence, anger, infidelity, and sin.

Another notable message in the Gospel of John is that the Holy Spirit will be with us to guide us as the future unfolds with its new knowledge and challenges. While we have instructions on basic moral issues in the Bible,  there are some things that did not exist at the time of the writings. When we are faced today with moral decisions, we can receive assistance from the Holy Spirit if we call upon him and keep our minds and hearts open.

Not only are there new scientific discoveries, but there are newer understandings of certain laws in the Old Testament. In the time before refrigeration, e.g. to eat pork could make one very ill because of the microbes which would grow in the non-preserved meat. Therefore, today the Reformed Jews will eat pork because they see that law as a protection that God provided at a time when there was no
known way of preserving meat.

Today, prayers to the Holy Spirit usually precede meetings where major decisions are to be made. Research, clarification and assistance from the Holy Spirit can enable us to make informed decisions in the many complex circumstances of our times. However, it is also helpful to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance in our simple, everyday, personal situations. It is a way of helping us to be aware of the Lord’s accompanying us, daily, on our journey.

 Reflection Question:   At Confirmation, we were given gifts of the Holy Spirit to assist us in life. How do I make use of those gifts? 

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

Fiesta de Pentecostés

La liturgia hoy es muy rica cuando celebramos el cumpleaños de la Iglesia. Comenzaré centrándome en el Prefacio de la Misa:

Es verdaderamente correcto y justo, nuestro deber y nuestra salvación, siempre y en todas partes para darte gracias, Señor, santo Padre, Dios todopoderoso y eterno.

                   Porque, al completar tu misterio pascual,
              Has otorgado el Espíritu Santo hoy
              en aquellos que hiciste tus hijos adoptivos
              uniéndolos a tu Hijo unigénito.
              Este mismo Espíritu, cuando la Iglesia nació,
              abierto a todos los pueblos el conocimiento de Dios
              y reunió a los muchos idiomas de la tierra
              en profesión de una fe.

P. Ron Rolheiser, OMI, presidente de la Escuela Oblata de Teología, San Antonio, Texas, escribió una poderosa reflexión: “Mantener a nuestros seres queridos conectados al cuerpo de Cristo”.  Según este Oblato Misionero de María, al recibir el Espíritu Santo, nos hacemos uno con nuestro Señor y somos llamados a hacer todas las cosas que hizo Jesús, “incluyendo el perdón de los pecados y la unión de unos a otros, a través del amor, a la familia de Dios”. (Se puede
acceder al texto completo de la reflexión del P. Ron Rolheiser en Luego desplácese hacia abajo hasta
2005 y haga clic en el 7 de agosto).

El padre Ron reconoció que esto es en parte un misterio.
Sin embargo, podemos entenderlo porque ...
              Una madre amorosa sabe que la familia aún incluye un determinado
           niño, incluso si esa persona está luchando en formas que no lo hacen
           permitir que él o ella esté en casa y en la mesa familiar en
           una noche determinada. El amor ata, afloja, perdona y mantiene a los
           demás en unión incluso dentro de las dolorosas contingencias de
           inmadurez, ausencia, ira, infidelidad y pecado.

Otro mensaje notable en el Evangelio de Juan es que el Espíritu Santo estará con nosotros para guiarnos a medida que el futuro se desarrolle con sus nuevos conocimientos y desafíos. 
Si bien tenemos instrucciones sobre cuestiones morales básicas en la Biblia, hay algunas cosas que no existían en el momento de las escrituras. Cuando nos enfrentamos hoy con decisiones morales, podemos recibir ayuda del Espíritu Santo si lo llamamos y mantenemos nuestras mentes y corazones abiertos.

No solo hay nuevos descubrimientos científicos, sino que hay nuevas comprensiones de ciertas leyes en el Antiguo Testamento. En el tiempo anterior a la refrigeración, p. comer carne de cerdo podría enfermar mucho a causa de los microbios que crecen en la carne no conservada. Por lo tanto, hoy los judíos reformados comerán carne de cerdo porque ven esa ley como una protección que Dios proveyó en una época en que no había forma conocida de preservar la carne.

Hoy en día, las oraciones al Espíritu Santo generalmente preceden a las reuniones donde se deben tomar decisiones importantes. La investigación, la clarificación y la asistencia del Espíritu Santo pueden permitirnos tomar decisiones informadas en las muchas y complejas circunstancias de nuestro tiempo. Sin embargo, también es útil orar al Espíritu Santo para que nos guíe en nuestras situaciones personales simples y cotidianas. Es una forma de ayudarnos a ser conscientes de que el Señor nos acompaña diariamente en nuestro camino.

 Pregunta de reflexión:   En la Confirmación, recibimos dones del Espíritu Santo para ayudarnos en la vida. ¿Cómo hago uso de esos regalos? 


  1. Wow, I actually had to refer to the Catechism to remind myself of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. For any other reader who may need to be refreshed, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, piety, fortitude, and fear of the Lord. The fact that I had to research these attributes indicates that I’m not actively applying them in my daily life. What a shame to have these treasures lying dormant within me. While I consider myself as having a connection to the Holy Spirit, I realize that it does not equate to having an authentic relationship with Spirit. As we celebrate this season of newness of life in the Spirit, now is the perfect time to rediscover the power of the Holy Spirit, the Breath of God, in our lives.
    Breath of God – the Holy Spirit is closer to us than our breath. In Acts 17:28 we read, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” I think that many Catholics consider Confirmation a one-time event. But the truth is that being filled with the Spirit is a continually renewing process. I’m thinking that the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are God’s tools to us to enrich our lives and to wage spiritual battle against temptation.
    In an article entitled “The Benefits of Exercising Spiritual Gifts,” Rodney W. Francis writes, “Spiritual Gifts in operation are God’s idea. They are not something that man has dreamed up. They are a vital part of New Testament Christianity. We neglect them to our loss. We can never accomplish in our own efforts what the Holy Spirit can when we listen to Him, obey Him and utilize His gifts. It is a totally different realm to the ‘norm’ of ‘accepted Christian beliefs’ and through ignorance and neglect we then have to settle for lesser results and fruit. May God open our eyes more to see more of the ways of the Holy Spirit and His wonderful gifts.”
    If I were more in tune with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I’d probably stress less. Left to my own limited resources, worry and indecision are almost always part of the equation. When I look at the gifts as a group I think of them as being in two categories: personally empowering (wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and counsel), and virtuous (piety, fortitude, and fear of the Lord). With so much stimuli pulling us in multiple directions, seeking to fragment, divide and separate us, being filled with the authority of the Holy Spirit would not only help us discern what we need to do to be the best versions of ourselves, but would also position us to be a healing presence for others.
    Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, writes: “The Holy Spirit embodies the life force of the universe, the power of God, the animating energy present in all things and captured by none. On this great feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Spirit of God, I invite you to pray with me:
    May the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
    bring fire to the earth
    so that the presence of God
    may be seen
    in a new light,
    in new places,
    in new ways.
    May our own hearts
    burst into flame
    so that no obstacle,
    no matter how great,
    ever obstructs the message
    of the God within each of us.
    May we come to trust
    the Word of God in our heart,
    to speak it with courage,
    to follow it faithfully
    and to fan it to flame in others.
    Give me, Great God,
    a sense of the Breath of Spirit. Amen.”
    Pat C., ASBS

  2. Sr. Therese M. WarnerMay 15, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    Yes, the liturgy for the Feast of Pentecost emphasizes the glory of the mystery of the Trinity. As our catechism reminds us, "In the Holy Spirit, Christian prayer is a communion of love with the Father, not only through Christ, but also in Him. ('Hitherto, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full.) (Jn. 16:24)' " (CCC 2615)

    The following excerpts are from a homily delivered by Msgr.
    Charles Pope:

    "What a wondrous and challenging feast we celebrate at Pentecost! a feast like this challenges us because it puts the lie to a lazy, sleepy, hidden and tepid Christian life. The Lord Jesus said to the apostles and still says to us, 'I have come to cast a fire on the earth!' ((Luke 12:49). This is a feast about fire. - about a transformative, refining and purifying fire that the Lord wants to kindle in us and in this world. It is about a necessary fire. ... We need the tongues of Pentecost fire to set us on fire and bring us to the temperature of glory."

    "Psalm 97 says, 'The Lord reigns. Let the earth rejoice. Let the many coastlands be glad! ... Fire goes before Him and burns up His adversaries round about. His lightning lights up the world. The earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord all the earth. The heavens proclaim His righteousness
    and all the peoples behold His glory.' "

    "And so it is that our God, Who is a 'Holy Fire', comes to dwell in us through His Holy Spirit. And as a 'Holy Fire'
    He refines us by burning away our sins and purifying us. As Job said, 'But He knows the way that I take. When He tests me, I will come forth as gold.' (Job 23:10)"

    "Happy Feast of Pentecost, but don't forget that the basic image is very challenging, for it means getting out of the 'upper room', opening the doors, and proclaiming Christ to the world. Let the Holy Spirit light a fire in you and then you can't help but spread the light and heat to a cold and dark world."

    "Let the evangelizing of the whole world begin with you!"