Reflections for Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pentecost Sunday 

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

       (Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104:1,24,29-31,34; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13; John 20:19-23)

Personally Experiencing Pentecost in Our Own Lives

 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:4)

Happy Pentecost! Today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, and Luke gives us a dramatic picture of the event: The Spirit came upon the apostles with a “strong driving wind” and with “tongues as of fire” (Acts 2:2,3).

It is clear, as you read Chapter 2 of Acts, that something radical happened in the lives of the apostles when they were filled with the Spirit. They were filled with excitement and began speaking all about Jesus and his resurrection. Their hearts were burning with love for the Lord and with a desire to share his good news with everyone. They were so excited, in fact, that many of the people who saw them assumed that they were drunk!

But then Peter took the lead. He told the people how Jesus was nailed to a cross, “But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:24). Peter’s words cut the people to the heart, and they asked what they should do. Peter’s answer was simple and direct: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (2:38). Many of the people took his words to heart and were filled with the Spirit that day. And so the Cchurch was born!

This story tells us that Pentecost is meant to be experienced. The Spirit wants to burn the knowledge of God’s love and mercy into our hearts. He wants to fill us with the same joy that the apostles knew— the joy of our salvation and the joy of knowing Jesus. As we feel this joy, we will yearn for God’s presence every day, and we will want to avoid everything—every sin—that would separate us from him and his love. 

“Lord, fill us all anew with your Holy Spirit. Melt us with your fire, and refresh us with your wind. May our lives be changed today— forever!”

 (Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.)

Questions for Reflection/Discussion 

  1. The first reading describes the moment when the Holy Spirit “came to rest” on each one of the disciples. Witnesses are described as “confused”, “astounded” and “in amazement.” Each of us, as baptized Catholics, has also received the Holy Spirit. Do you believe there is enough evidence in your life to “convict” you of being a Christian with the Holy Spirit indwelling you?  Do you believe that the Lord wants to give you a deeper infilling of his Spirit? How can this happen?
  2. The responsorial psalm says the Holy Spirit will “renew the face of the earth”.  What in your life would you like the Holy Spirit to renew?
  3. The second reading says that spiritual gifts are given to each of us for the benefit of others. What spiritual gifts have you received from the Holy Spirit that can benefit your family, your parish, and others? How are you using them?
  4. The second reading also uses the metaphor of a body to describe our Church, “and all parts of the body, though many, are one body.” In Christ, all differences are united.  How tolerant are you of other members of the body of Christ who are different than you? What steps can you take, individually or with a group, to bring more unity to your parish? Are you also willing to reach out to non-Catholics Christians as well? Why or why not?
  5. In the Gospel, Jesus’ first words to the disciples after his resurrection were words of consolation and reassurance: “peace be with you.” Following his example, what practical steps can you take this week to bring the Lord’s love, comfort, and peace to others? What are the obstacles in you that keep you from witnessing God’s love to others? How can you overcome them?
  6. Take some time now to pray for a deeper infilling of the Holy Spirit. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

(The discussion questions were created by Maurice Blumberg, the Director of Partner Relations for The Word Among Us Partners, (http://www.waupartners.org/), a Ministry of The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) to the Military, Prisoners, and women with crisis pregnancies or who have had abortions. Maurice was also the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/), for which he is currently a Trustee. Maurice can be contacted at (Enable Javascript to see the email address) or (Enable Javascript to see the email address).)

These reflection questions are provided courtesy of The Word Among Us.

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