Pentecost Sunday [b]

Engaging Faith | Mon, May 21, 2012

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

Lectionary reflections for Pentecost - May 27, 2012.

Pentecost Sunday [b]

May 27, 2012


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 27 Pentecost
May 28: Memorial Day Observed in the United States
May 31: World No Tobacco Day
June 3: Trinity Sunday


The Church herself will never cease putting questions, trusting in the help of the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth.
-- John Paul II

The Church must always become anew what she already is; she must open the borders between peoples and break down the barriers between class and race. In her, there cannot be those who are forgotten or looked down upon. In the Church there are only free brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. The wind and fire of the Holy Spirit must continually break down those barriers that we men and women continue to build between us; we must continually pass from Babel - being closed in on ourselves - to Pentecost.
-- Benedict XVI, Pentecost 2005

May Christ inflame the desires of all people to break through the barriers which divide them, to strengthen the bonds of mutual love, to learn to understand one another, and to pardon those who have done them wrong. Through Christ’s power and inspiration may all peoples welcome each other to their hearts as brothers and sisters, and may the peace they long for ever flower and ever reign among them.
-- John XXIII, Pacem in Terris 171

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

On this feast of the Spirit and the Church, let us thank God for having given to his people, chosen and formed in the midst of all peoples, the precious good of peace, of his peace!
-- Benedict XVI, Pentecost 2008

Indeed, from the first moment the Holy Spirit created her as the Church of all peoples; she embraces the whole world, surmounts all distinctions of race, class and nation;
-- Benedict XVI, Pentecost 2011


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 coming of the Spirit transforms the Christian community.
       Locked doors are opened.
       Fear is replaced by courage.
       Peace is proclaimed.
       The power to forgive sins is present.
       Those who were afraid now speak up boldly.
       Thousands hear the message in their own language.

The coming of the Spirit is reflected in our social values.
    In a world of racism and xenophobia and fear of immigrants,
        the Spirit speaks to people of every nation under heaven.
    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 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 to reform how we live and to use the earth with care and love.
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 been surprised by the work of the Spirit in our society?
When have you been surprised by the breaking out of justice?


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?


Best Tea In Japan

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


In the Pentecost story, people of many languages come together, hear the apostles and join the community. Can this happen today? In recent years immigration issues have received lots of attention in the politics of the United States.  You can read Benedict XVI’s message for the World Day for Migrants and Refugees at
Learn more and take action at , the web site for the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform.

World No Tobacco Day 2012: May 31
The World Health Organization (WHO) selects "tobacco industry interference" as the theme of World No Tobacco Day, which will take place on Thursday, 31 May 2012.

“Crazy Facts”

As of May 18, 2012:
Number of Countries involved in wars     59
Number Militias-guerrillas and separatist groups involved     328

Prayers of Intercession

Response:  Come, Holy Spirit.
For the willingness to take time to listen to and learn from others who are in need, we pray….
For the gift to speak up on issues of justice and peace, we pray….
For the wisdom to discern the end to all the wars around our world, 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 transparency and integrity in all our governments and in all our public officials, we pray
For the perseverance needed to keep working for affordable health care for all, we pray….
For the strength to always work together for the common good of all, we pray….


A Pentecost Peace Novena can be found at the web site of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas at


Various Pentecost prayers can be found on the site of CAFOD, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, at .

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 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 ways of Jesus
    - aware of our selves 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.
Give us the freedom to see. Give us the wisdom and courage to speak.

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