Gospel, May 31, 2020

The first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles. On Pentecost (meaning fifty days after the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus by Christians), when the Spirit fills the disciples, it gives them new languages to preach about Jesus. This is the official birthdate of the Church. For this reason, today the entire Church celebrates the great Feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and the pouring out of His graces and benefits on all the baptized. The Church will be universal in scope. People of every nation will be invited to join this new People of God.

The second reading is from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians. In this section of the letter, Paul writes to the very divided Corinthian community about the Spirit who is at work in each of them. Paul also makes two important points in these verses. First, all the gifts come from the same Spirit. This One Spirit is the unifying factor in a community in which the many gifts are threatening to create chaos. Second, the gifts are given for the common good and not for one’s self-aggrandizement.  Paul insists that these spiritual gifts are to be used in the present time for the benefit of others, for the common good, and for the building up of the Body of Christ.

The Gospel is from the Gospel of John. On this holy day of the Church, Pentecost, we recall how the disciples were gifted with the guidance of the Holy Spirit as an aid to their ministry after Jesus’ Ascension into heaven. When Jesus appears to his disciples, they are together behind locked Upper Room for fear of what the religious authorities who plotted his crucifixion might now do to them. Jesus greets his disciples, sends them to carry on the mission given him by his Heavenly Father, and empowers them to do so by breathing upon them and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The Gospel passage also tells us in the context of his larger mission to take away the sins of the world, to reconcile all humanity with God and, and for those who believe in him, to open the way to eternal life. 

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