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 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.
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 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.”
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 the Lord,
The Holy Spirit! So often we have very little understanding of the Holy Spirit in our lives, even though that Spirit is always with us and always seeking to draw us into the love of God! We need to ask that Spirit to be present right now: Come, Holy Spirit!
The first reading today is from the Acts of the Apostles and describes upon them. Many of us have never had an experience such as we find in this account. On the other hand, many of us have had experiences that are different from this but also are experiences of the Spirit. Many of us have felt truly moved by some religious experience. Perhaps we have been walking near a Church and have felt some tug in the heart to enter and say prayers. Perhaps we have heard some terrible news and our hearts have turned to the Lord. Possibly someone has asked us about our faith and in trying to describe our faith we have felt something new.
There are so many ways in which the Spirit is present in our lives. Perhaps we have found ourselves in a really difficult situation and have asked the Lord for help—and it all turned out well for us. Or maybe we were in a situation of danger and asked the Lord’s protection, and we emerged safely.
The challenge is to reconcile these experiences with the other experiences that we have when we seem far from God, when we ask help from God and nothing good seems to happen. We humans often want an all-powerful God who will always do what we ask of Him! God is not that way. Nevertheless we need to take time to meditate on the positive experiences that we have been given.
Today we have two options for the second reading. In the option which is from the First Letter to the Corinthians, we find Saint Paul teaching us about the role of the Holy Spirit. No one can truly proclaim that Jesus is Lord except with the power of the Holy Spirit. All of us today should say and proclaim: “Jesus is Lord.” This is a simple test of the Spirit’s presence. We have to say that Jesus is Lord with conviction, however, and not just with words. It is the Spirit that gives all the gifts in the Church because we are all one body in Jesus Christ, in His Church.
The second option for the second reading is from the Letter to the Galatians. In this section of the Letter to the Galatians, Saint Paul contrasts the values of a life in the Spirit and those of a life without the Spirit. It is a sobering comparison, especially in our day when so many choose to live with the values which indicate a life without the Spirit.
This is the comparison that Saint Paul gives to us: “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.”
There are two options for the Gospel today as well. The first is from the Gospel of Saint John, Chapter 20. Here Saint John records the appearance of Jesus to His disciples after His Resurrection. Jesus gives them the Holy Spirit and this gift of the Holy Spirit is completely related to the forgiveness of sin. We should realize that when we really love another and when we forgive another, we are sharing in the Holy Spirit.
The second option for the Gospel is from the 15th Chapter of the Gospel of Saint John and teaches us that the Spirit will guide us in truth. If we choose to ask the Holy Spirit, even now, that Spirit will show us the way of Jesus our Lord.
May this Holy Spirit come upon us today, guiding us in love, truth and forgiveness. May this Holy Spirit give us unity in the Church and faithfulness in preaching the Gospel. May this Holy Spirit guide us in the path of right living and away from the values of this world. Amen.
Your brother in the Lord,