Saturday, June 03, 2006

Bible Study: Pentecost

The readings for this Sunday can be found here.

There are a ton of different options for the readings this Sunday so they will probably vary from parish to parish. There are also different readings for the Vigil the night before. Unfortunately, I don't really have time to do a lot of extensive research so this will just be my random thoughts on the readings.

All of the readings are very profound for this last day in the Easter Season. St. Luke tells us in the first reading that the followers of Jesus were all in a room together. According to tradition, the Cenacle (the room where they were gathered) was the same room where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his Apostles and instituted the Eucharist and the priesthood. In this we can see a clear connection of the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.

Red is the liturgical color for Pentecost, Good Friday, Palm Sunday, and the feast days of martyrs. While the red vividly symbolizes the physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit's presence at Pentecost in tounges of fire, it also reminds us of the strength the Holy Spirit gives to us to stand up for our faith even to the point of shedding our blood. Traditionally, confirmation has been described as a sacrament that makes the recipient a "soldier for Christ." The gifts of the Holy Spirit give us the strength to hold fast to our faith in times of adversity and we should pray for an increase in the gifts of the Spirit so we too could have the courage and love for the Lord to be willing to die a martyr's death.

The readings are full of great stuff related to the universal call to holiness. In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians he says that there are "different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit, different forms of service, but the same Lord, different workings, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone...." I see this as an indication that there are a variety of gifts and graces that individuals may be given. This diversity is not harmful as God is the source of all these good things. The first reading shows that the Gospel message was meant for the whole world as many different nations were represented. We need to use our individual gifts to be able to spread the Gospel more effectively as witnesses for Christ.

Finally, the disciples were gathered in prayer and Mary, the mother of Jesus was also there. On this feast of Pentecost, let us look to the Blessed Mother to better learn how to treasure the word of God and reflect on it in our hearts.

Come Holy Sprit and fill the hearts of us your faithful and kindle in us 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 instructs the hearts of the faithful, grant, that by the same Holy Spirit, we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolations. Through the same Christ our Lord. AMEN


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