On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Shortly after Easter one year, a woman in my parish who had been received into the Church at the Easter Vigil told me how welcomed she felt in the Catholic family. The sense of openness and tolerance she experienced was especially important to her.
It’s a characteristic of Catholicism to see God’s goodness in all of creation, in various human endeavors, and in the cultures and histories of human beings wherever the Gospel is preached. While we haven’t always lived up to that ideal, I was happy that my new parishioner experienced something of that spirit.
That universal dimension is also one of the themes of Pentecost. The dramatic story of the descent of the Holy Spirit tells us how the Holy Spirit can break down walls we may put up between peoples, races, cultures. What we see as obstacles, the Spirit can use to create a new unity, a reversal of the Babel story in Genesis, when people let human arrogance lead to disunity, as one human language fractured into many different tongues.
Today, across our world, a myriad of voices, different languages, and many cultural expressions will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. Let’s join our voices with that Pentecost chorus.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
What is the meaning of the word “Pentecost," which we hear about in the first reading (Acts 2:1-11)? Was it a Jewish feast?
What happened on the feast of Pentecost after the Resurrection of Jesus?
In this week's second reading (1Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13), St. Paul says that there are different spiritual gifts, but the same Lord. He says all the different gifts of the Spirit are given “for some benefit.” What does Paul mean?
St. Paul gives a comparison of all the gifts to the human body. What is the comparison?
According to this week's Gospel , what did Jesus first say when he came to the disciples?
Then what did Jesus do?
When Jesus breathed on the disciples, what did he say?
Find the word for peace in a variety of languages. Draw a heart and inside write as many of the words that you can come up with. Make it decorative and then hang it up somewhere as a reminder to always work for peace.
Just as is pointed out in the second reading, we all have our special talents. Make a list of your special talents and think about ways you can use them to help others.