Lectionary Reflections: Pentecost Sunday May 24, 2015

Engaging Faith | Thu, May 14, 2015

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Pentecost Sunday

May 24, 2015

Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern


Acts 2:1-11

1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Galatians 5:16-25

John 20:19-23 or John 15:26-27; 16:12-15



May 24: Pentecost Sunday

May 25: Memorial Day Observed in the United States

May 29: International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers 

May 31: Trinity Sunday 

May 31: World No Tobacco Day: 

June: World Refugee Awareness Month 



“The Church herself will never cease putting questions, trusting in the help of the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth. “                                                                                                                        

- John Paul II


“The Spirit changes us!  …  Let us trust in God’s work! With him we can do great things; he will give us the joy of being his disciples, his witnesses. Commit yourselves to great ideals, to the most important things. We Christians were not chosen by the Lord for little things; push onwards toward the highest principles. Stake your lives on noble ideals, my dear young people!”

- Pope Francis, 28 April 2013 


“Ever mindful of the past, let us promote an education in which exclusion and confrontation give way to inclusion and encounter.” 

 - Pope Francis, Tel Aviv, 25 May 2014


Every time we put behind us our longstanding prejudices and find the courage to build new fraternal relationships, we confess that Christ is truly risen!

- Pope Francis, 25 May 2014, in Jerusalem


Finding one’s own voice, however, haltingly, imparts the power of the Spirit crying out. The boldness to hear the claim of conscience and follow its deep impulses even in the face of loss; the courage to taste righteous anger and allow it to motivate critical resistance to evil; the willingness to utter the prophetic word – these occurrences inscribe the movement of the Spirit’s compassion into the ambiguity of the world.                                              

Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, She Who Is, 126


All of us want peace.  Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers.  All of us – especially those placed at the service of their respective peoples – have the duty to become instruments and artisans of peace, especially by our prayers.

- Pope Francis, Bethlehem, 25 May 2014


Thoughts for your consideration

Today, as we celebrate the power of the Spirit in the church, the scriptures remind us that the Spirit is a social Spirit – a Spirit that leads us to solidarity with each other, the whole world, and all its people.  The Spirit does more than make individuals feel good or different. The Spirit breaks down barriers between peoples. The Spirit changes behavior and moves us into community.  The Spirit calls us into action – action for others and for justice.

The Spirit is a Spirit of reconciliation and healing. The Spirit is a Spirit of mercy.

The coming of the Spirit 2000 years ago transformed the Christian community.

      Locked doors were opened.

      Fear was replaced by courage.

      Peace was proclaimed.

      The power to forgive sins was shared present.

      Those who were afraid began to speak up boldly.

      Thousands heard the message in their own languages.


Today the coming of the Spirit is in our church and in our social values.

In a world of fear and doubt and confusion, 

the Spirit inspires people to open the doors and speak out 

      especially about issues of justice and peace.

In a world of selfishness, competition, and control,

the Spirit gives out gifts that are shared for the benefit of all

      especially those who are poor or in need.

In a world of racism and xenophobia and fear of immigrants, 

the Spirit invites people of every nation under heaven to come together.

In a world with war, violence and terrorism,

the Spirit proclaims a message of peace and reconciliation to all.

In a world of economic problems,

the Spirit reminds us that the things of the world are mean to be shared by all

and are to be used for the common good.

In a world where the environment is abused and over used,

the Spirit calls for reform in how we live 

      and in the ways we use the earth with care and love.

In a world of ideology and prejudice,

The Spirit calls us to think about things in a new way.

The gifts of the Spirit are for liberation.  The Spirit is an inclusive spirit who desires to set everyone free.  Maybe the greatest manifestation of the spirit is when people have the grace to identify with the needs and struggles of the world, to listen to those who are poor or oppressed, and to speak up for justice. As Elizabeth Johnson says above: “Finding one’s own voice, however, haltingly, imparts the power of Spirit crying out.”


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

  • When have you had the ability or the courage to speak up in a difficult situation?  
  • What happened? What were the results?  What did you learn?
  • The Spirit speaks to people of every nation under heaven. 
  • How is the Spirit call us to be more inclusive and welcoming? 



Nasreddin Khodja commanded his disciples, when he sneezed, to salute him by clapping their hands and crying out: "Haïr Ollah, Khodja," that is "Prosperity to thee, O Master!" Now it came to pass that on one of the days the bucket fell into the well [...] he descended, caught the bucket, and the boys were already pulling him up, when, just as he was drawing near the edge of the well, he chanced to sneeze. Whereupon they, mindful of the master's behest, let go the rope and, clapping their hands in high glee, cried out in chorus: "Haïr Ollah, Khodja," Nasreddin was precipitated violently into the well, bruising himself against the sides. [...] "Well, boys, it was not your fault, but mine: too much honor is no good thing for man." - George Frederick Abbott, Macedonian Folklore (1903: Cambridge University Press), p. 114 -


There was a group of elderly gentlemen in Japan who would meet to exchange news and drink tea. One of their diversions was to search for costly varieties of tea and create new blends that would delight the palate.

When it was the turn of the oldest member of the group to entertain the others, he served tea with the greatest ceremony, measuring out the leaves from a golden container. Everyone had the highest praise for the tea and demanded to know by what particular combination he had arrived at this exquisite blend.

The old man smiled and said, "Gentlemen, the tea that you find so delightful is the one that is drunk by the peasants on my farm. The finest things in life are neither costly nor hard to find."


Actions – Links

War Profiteering

Pope Francis Explains To Children How War Profiteers Never Want Peace

For the Italian see: 


Climate Change

Ask Congress to support the Green Climate Fund to help developing countries limit their greenhouse gasses.;jsessionid=E28553D4A0194240E166B067121613BD.app243a?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=857&autologin=true&link=txt1&utm_campaign=climate&utm_medium=email&utm_source=advocacy-alert&utm_content=150512t 


“Crazy Facts”

From the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations at:

The latest FAO estimates indicate that global hunger reduction continues: about 805 million people are estimated to be chronically undernourished in 2012–14, down more than 100 million over the last decade, and 209 million lower than in 1990–92. In the same period, the prevalence 

of undernourishment has fallen from 18.7 to 11.3 percent globally and from 23.4 to 13.5 percent for the developing countries.

The hunger target of the Millennium Development Goal 1c (MDG 1c) – of halving the proportion of undernourished people in developing countries by 2015 – is within reach. However, the developing world is not on track to achieve the World Food Summit (WFS) target of halving the number of undernourished people by next year.+++++

From the Peter G. Peterson Foundation at: 

From the Peter G. Peterson Foundation at: 

The U.S. spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined.


Prayers of Intercession

Response:  Come, Holy Spirit.

For the gift to speak up on issues of justice and peace, we pray….

For the wisdom to discern an end to war and violence, we pray….

For a strong commitment to respect the human rights of all people and for an end to torture and abuse, we pray…..

For the ability to work together to end racism and all other discrimination in our society, we pray…

For the help we need to address the needs of refugees and immigrants, we pray….

For the perseverance we need to keep working for health care for all in our own land, we pray….

For the courage to live simply and in ways that respect our environment, we pray….

For transparency and integrity in all our governments and in all our public officials, we pray

For the strength to always work together for the common good of all, we pray….

For the willingness to take time to listen to and learn from others who are in need, we pray….



Come Holy Spirit. Come! Fill the hearts of your people.

Come Holy Spirit that we may be aware:

- aware of the people around us, especially the poor and oppressed

- aware of the children, the young people, all the people striving to grow into their dignity as children of God

- aware of visitors, immigrants, and refugees

- aware of the world around us, especially the environment with its plants and animals, with its land and water, with its air and space, with all its mystery

- aware of the structures of power, especially those that keep people poor or powerless or confused or unfree

- aware of the violence and the threats of violence, which are not the way of Jesus

- aware of ourselves and our bias and stereotypes and all our unfreedom

- aware of all the possibilities for freedom and joy and life.

Come Holy Spirit. Come! Fill the hearts of your people.


THE GRACE TO SHOUT, From William Cleary, Psalm Services For Group Prayer

Today we ask the grace to shout when it hurts, even though silence is expected of us,

And to listen when others shout though it be painful to hear;

To object, to protest, when we feel, taste, or observe injustice,

Believing that even the unjust and arrogant

Are human nonetheless and therefore worthy of strong efforts to reach them.


Take from us, Guiding God, the heart of despair and fill us with courage and understanding.

Give us a self that knows very well when the moment has come to protest.


We ask the grace to be angry when the weakest are the first to be exploited

And the trapped are squeezed for their meager resources,

When the most deserving are the last to thrive, and the privileged demand more privilege.


We ask for the inspiration to make our voice heard 

When we have something that needs to be said, something that rises to our lips despite our shyness.


And we ask the grace to listen when the meek finally rise to speak and their words are an agony for us.


Give us the freedom to see. Give us the wisdom and courage to speak.



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