Faith and Family

Faith and Family for May 31: Receive the Holy Spirit

READ

JN 20:19-23

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 and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE GOSPEL.

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 people, races, and 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–and 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.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO the AUDIO.

DISCUSS

by Father Dan Kroger, OFM

• According to the first reading (Acts 2:1-11), what happened on Pentecost?

What made the visitors in Jerusalem take notice?

• In the second reading (1Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13), St. Paul writes to the Corinthians about how the Holy Spirit gives many kinds of gifts. What are some of the gifts that Paul mentions in his letter to the people of Corinth?

Why does the Holy Spirit give special gifts to all kinds of people—Jews and Greeks, slaves and free persons, rich and poor?

• When did the Holy Spirit come upon the apostles according to the Gospel? Was it at Pentecost or on the first day of the week after Jesus rose from the dead?

What does this Gospel reading tell us about the special favor, or grace, given to the Apostles by the Holy Spirit?

ACT

by Susan Hines-Brigger

• If you are able, make an effort to take part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The US bishop’s website has a few examples of Examinations of Conscience that can help you prepare for the sacrament. If your church has not yet opened, perform an Examination of Conscience and then recite an Act of Contrition.

• Look into the subject of peace in relation to your faith. Find out what the Bible says about peace and war. Read Church documents regarding peace, such as the final chapter of Pope Paul VI’s Gaudium et spes.  

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