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Pentecost 2015
Cycle B

First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”

Second Reading
I Corinthians or Galatians

SECOND READING Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 Brothers and sisters: No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. Or SECOND READING Galatians 5:16-25 Brothers and sisters, live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

Gospel Cycle B
John 20 or John 15

GOSPEL John 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.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Or GOSPEL John 15:26-27; 16:12-15 Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning. “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”

My sisters and brothers in Christ,

The Spirit of God is upon us! Yet so often we feel and sense nothing. At other times we do feel perhaps a touch of the Spirit and a sense that truly the Spirit is our comforter. Some are involved in the Charismatic Movement in which there can be an enormous sense of the presence of the Spirit. We know that in the early Church, this sense of the Spirit was deep and profound--and expressed in so many ways. The most obvious ways, of course, were in tongues and in healing. Yet we must always be aware that Saint Paul teaches us that there are many, many gifts of the Spirit and these gifts are given in various ways. We must accept the gifts given to us and allow the Spirit to act as the Spirit acts: always creatively.

The first reading today, from the Acts of the Apostles, speaks about the gift of tongues but also about a gift of understanding. It was clear in the early Church that sometimes people had a gift of speaking in a language that no one could understand. Then that person was asked to be silent because the gift was not for the community. Others had a gift of tongues which the rest could understand. Sometimes it seems there was a gift of one person to understand the language of another person. So we have both speaking and understanding as gifts.

Speaking and understanding what? The mighty gifts of God! This is not speaking and understanding the gossip of the day, what is going on around us, how to do things! No, this is speaking and understanding how God is at work here and now in our lives.

There are two possibilities for a second reading today. The Letter to the Galatians, tells us some of the works of the flesh but also some of the works of the Spirit. Saint Paul wants us to understand clearly how to identify if we or others are acting in the Spirit of God. We do that by seeing if the fruits of the Spirit are present: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

It is, in many ways, a very easy task to evaluate if we or others are living in the Spirit of Jesus Christ because we know these fruits of the Spirit. Living in Christ is not about power over others, not about being acknowledged by others, not about status or about glory. Living in Christ is the hard and arduous task of serving others, almost as a slave of others, for the love of Jesus Christ.

The other option for the second reading is from the First Letter to the Corinthians and tells us that we can only say that Jesus is Lord if we are guided by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit will manifest itself in many ways and so once again we see that there is an enormous variety in the ways to live our Christian life.

The Gospel also has two options today and both of them add a note to our reflections: the Spirit will always cause us to acknowledge Jesus as Lord. To live in all truth is to live in Jesus. To seek truth is to seek Jesus. Thus the Spirit will help us understand the words Jesus has left us in Holy Scripture and will not begin to preach novelties or teachings which contradict what has been handed down to us from Jesus.

The Gospel of John is very clear that the manifestation of true love is always in pardon of the sins of others.

Come, Holy Spirit! Draw us into this mystery! Come, Holy Spirit! Form us in Christ the Lord and lift us up to eternal life.