PENTEC0ST – CYCLE A - 2017
With the Solemnity of Pentecost we have reached the end of the Easter season.
We will see how Pentecost has had different names and meanings over the centuries.
During the Jewish celebration of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was sent by the Father to the Church.
v Every Israelite had to present himself before YHWH, three times a year: the second of these feasts became Pentecost.
In Ex 23:16 it is called the Feast of the Grain Harvest.
v In the book of Number 28:26 it is called the Feast of the First Fruits.
v In the book of Deuteronomy 16:10 it is called the Feast of weeks because this feast was celebrated seven weeks after the feast of the Unleavened Bread (Passover.)
v It was also called the Feast of the 50th day(Pentecost) because it was celebrated 50 days after the first grain offering Lev 23,9-14
v This feast became a historical feast in which the people remembered the Covenant on Mount Sinai, and the New Covenant promised by God through the prophets Jeremiah 31,31-34 and Ezekiel 36 :22-28, and fulfilled by Jesus in his Paschal Mystery.
v On the day of Pentecost, the Father sent on the Church the Spirit Jesus had promised.
FIRST READING: Acts 2:1-11
Ø The strong driving wind that filled the house, takes us to the beginning of creation when the Spirit of God as a mighty wind covered the abyss.
Ø The noise, the fire, all these strong forces of nature remind us of the theophany on Mount Sinai, when God talked to Moses and made a Covenant with his people, giving them the Law.
Ø The tongues of fire: fire, enthusiasm, to proclaim the marvels accomplished by Christ Jesus.
Ø The "miracle" of the tongues that made possible for all to understand what the Apostles were announcing to them. This takes us to Babel, where people of one tongue could not understand each other due to greed, pride, sin. Pentecost is the opposite of Babel; the Holy Spirit makes those who are different, opposite, enemies to become brothers and sisters, to love one another.
Ø I will copy below two quotations from the Jewish tradition about the event on Mount Sinai:
· God did not have mouth or tongue, but by means of a wonderful act he decided that a thunder should be heard in the air and a blast should be articulated into words putting the air in motion. This became fire that had the shape of flames... a voice resounded in the midst of the fire and descended from heaven and this voice spoke the dialect of each one of those who heard it. (Jewish Philosopher called Filon explained in this fashion the divine theophany on Sinai.)
· When the voice of God was pronounced on Sinai it divided itself into seventy voices so that all the nations could understand. The Hebrew people believed that there were 70 nationalities in the world.
(My translation of both quotations which have been taken from the book Gianfranco Ravasi Según las Escrituras- Ciclo C").
Ø All were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
Ø Through the 2000 years of history since the First Pentecost, the Church has made present the wonderful event of Pentecost among all the nations, sometimes silently, some other times loudly, through the life and mission of men and women from all nations: of parents, missionaries, catechists, priests, sons and daughtets, .... the complete list would be too long. The enemies become friends, the foreigner and stranger are welcomed into the local comunity.
Sequence — Veni, Sancte Spiritus
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul's most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue's sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.
SECOND READING 1 Cor 12:3b-7,12-13
Paul says that no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit. But it is not enough to pronounce words or sounds, but this sentence must come from our faith, our trust, and our love for Jesus.
Paul makes his community realize that there are different gifts, that everyone has his or her own gifts, which God gives to us to accomplish a mission in the community.
And to help his community to understand better, he makes the wonderful comparison of the human body, which has many members but it is one body.
Through baptism we are united to Christ
And we were all given to drink of one Spirit.
In the first reading Luke uses the symbol of fire, wind and tongues. In the second reading water is the symbol used to describe who the Spirit is.
GOSPEL Jn 20:19-23
v In the first reading we have seen how Luke explains the coming upon the Holy the Church using images taken from the Old Testament, from the traditions of Israel and even of the peoples around it.
v In the Gospel the Church invites us to reflect on the mystery of the coming of the Holy Spirit in the way John explains it.
v According to the Gospel of John, the Lord came and stood in their midst, on the evening of the same day of his Resurrection.
v And in this meeting with them he gave the Holy Spirit
· But before giving them his Spirit
· Jesus gives them Peace thus they will be able to offer it to others.
· Jesus sends them. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. We know that through baptism we have been submerged in Christ to participate of his life and cooperate in his mission "the salvation of all men and women."
· Jesus gives to them the power to forgive sins. He will cooperate with them, he will accept and support the decisions they will make.
We have seen the two accounts of the coming of the Holy Spirit, one from the Gospel of John, Jesus gives his spirit the same day of his resurrection. In fact in the Gospel of John Jesus gives his Spirit, on the cross.
On Pentecost the Church is born,
· it has been conceived and nurtured in the heart of God the Father from all eternity.
· Jesus began to form it with his disciples
· and now it is made visible to the world by the Spirit of God on the day of Pentecost.
Since I began to serve my God and Lord, He has always been my counselor and master in everything. And he never neglects me even in the most insignificant and domestic things. And He tells me how I have to deal with certain persons, what I must tell them as well as the time and moment to speak. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters , Autobiography 85.
The same Holy Spirit, by appearing in the form of tongues of fire above the Apostles on Pentecost, showed us this truth quite clearly: an apostolic missionary must have both heart and tongue ablaze with charity. One day the Venerable Avila was asked by a young priest what he should do to become a good preacher. His ready answer was, "Love much.'' And both experience and the history of the Church teach us that the greatest preachers have always been the most fervent lovers. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 440.
CLARET, Antonio María , Autobiography
HAAG, H; VAN DER BORN, A; DE AUSEJO, S. Diccionario de la Biblia (Bible Dictionnary), Editorial Herder 1981.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiography
RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según Las Escrituras (According to the Scriptures), Year C, 2006.