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)
Pentecost, A Time to Say Yes to the Work of the Holy Spirit in Our Lives
Scholars tell us that the first Pentecost took place during the Jewish Feast of Weeks. This was a festival at which the first fruits of the harvest were offered to God in thanksgiving. But on this particular day, instead of giving our first fruits to God, he gave his first fruit—the Holy Spirit—to us.
And what an amazing gift the Spirit has been! It is his power that has kept the church on track, despite human sinfulness, for two millennia. It is his grace that has strengthened us, revealed Jesus to us, moved us to serve, and convinced us that Jesus will indeed come back to bring heaven down to earth. To put it quite simply, Pentecost is all about the fact that Almighty God has come to live in human hearts, making ordinary people into extraordinary saints.
After Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to the apostles and, breathing on them, said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). Just as he did at Pentecost, Jesus wants to breathe God’s energy into our hearts every day. The spiritual dynamic that was present at that first Pentecost, moving people to love God, to seek out holiness, and to come together as a church, is still at work today.
How can we tell if this breath of God is active in our lives? We will feel energized by the Spirit, and we will want to set our sights on being like Jesus. We will feel moved to go to work for the kingdom, relying on the Spirit’s power and guidance. We will try to be more loving, more kind, and more patient.
Right now, stop and take a few deep breaths. In your mind, imagine yourself breathing in the Spirit and breathing out your sin. Picture yourself accepting the Lord and his plans, and letting go of your own plans and visions. Know that what you are breathing in is pure, holy, and intoxicating. Jesus has great plans for every member of his church. And that includes you!
“Lord Jesus, breathe on me and make me more alive to God. Come, Holy Spirit, and fill me with your life!”
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- The account in Acts 2 of the First Reading describes the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles. Through this miraculous work, we see the Holy Spirit becoming the unifier of the Church. We too have received that same Spirit. In what ways can you fan into flame in a deeper way the Holy Spirit who was given to you at your Baptism and Confirmation? How can you use the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life and others to strengthen the unity of your parish?
- The response to the Responsorial Psalm is “Lord, send forth your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.” This renewal begins with each one of us. What renewal does God want to make in your life? In addition, in what ways has the Holy Spirit called you to participate in the mission of the Church to “renew the face of the earth”?
- In the second reading, we learn that the Holy Spirit is given to each one of us for some benefit of the whole Church. What gifts do you have that can be used to build up your church? How can you use them for the benefit of others in your family?
- In the Gospel reading, Jesus tells the Apostles, “As the Father has sent me so I send you” and then he “breathed” the Holy Spirit on them. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have reminded us over and over again that this commission that Christ gave the Church in the Gospel was not meant just for the Apostles, but rather for each of us believers. We all share in the responsibility to tell the world of the Good News of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ! What specifically can you do in the upcoming weeks to share this Good News with others?
- In the meditation, we hear these words: “Just as he did at Pentecost, Jesus wants to breathe God’s energy into our hearts every day. The spiritual dynamic that was present at that first Pentecost, moving people to love God, to seek out holiness, and to come together as a church, is still at work today.” In what ways have you experienced the “spiritual dynamic that was present at that first Pentecost”?
- The meditation ends with a spiritual exercise to allow each of us to experience a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit. Take some time now to go through this exercise and then, using the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point, pray for this fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit.