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Scripture Reflections - May 20
The Feast of Pentecost

Acts 2:1-11
1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13
John 20:19-23


Archives Msgr Paul E. Whitmore
Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore

As Catholics, we all know that the Feast of Pentecost marks the “birthday”, the beginnings of the Church.  But what more do we know?

From today’s first reading from Luke’s Acts of the Apostles, we know that the apostles were all together in one place, when a violent wind from the sky was heard all over the city.

Many people had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish Pentecost which commemorated God’s giving of the ten commandments to Moses. 

Because of the loud wind, thousands had gathered to find out its source.  Inside the building, the apostles suddenly saw balls of fire which separated into tongues, landing on their heads. 

What did it mean and what did it do?

The apostles, up until now, still stunned and confused  from seeing Jesus ascend into the heavens just ten days before, are suddenly filled with infused knowledge, wisdom, and new courage.

They spill out into the streets to preach in many languages about the works of God in sending His Son, Jesus, both God and man, to bring forgiveness of sin and salvation to all the world!

On the news of this Word, three thousand people are baptized! 

What did this bring?  Divine gifts to all who believed, gifts that St. Paul in today’s reading. explains:  “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone”.  

Doesn’t this mean total unity and peace in using these gifts? 

Unfortunately, no.   St. Paul is greatly distressed at the division that springs up through these gifts!  Isn’t that still true in our parishes today?  

When people use the gifts of the spirit without in humility relying on the Spirit, disagreements and jealousy can spoil their work. 

In the Gospel, Jesus, knowing that human nature is still weak, gives the apostles the power to forgive and reconcile those who sin.  It is God’s mercy working through his bishops and priests! 

The Holy Spirit also gives to all followers of Jesus the power to forgive one another in our daily living.  We are so in need of peace and unity in our families and communities.


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