Engaging Faith | Wed, May 27, 2009
Pentecost Sunday [b]
May 31, 2009
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 31: Pentecost
May 31: World No Tobacco Day http://www.who.int/tobacco/wntd/2009/en/index.html
June 5: World Environment Day http://www.unep.org/wed/2009/english/
June 7: 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
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?
Actions - Links
Immigration Issues: In the Pentecost story, people of many languages come together, hear the apostles and join the community. Can this happen today? In recent months 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 http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/migration/docume...
Learn more and take action at http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/ , the web site for the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform.
Health Care Reform: Network, the Catholic Social Justice Lobby, is stressing the importance of Health Care Reform at this time. Read more and take action at:
World Environment Day: The United Nations gives tips for living in a more responsible and green way at: http://www.unep.org/wed/2009/english/content/tips.asp The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has launched a worldwide tree planting campaign. You can get info at: http://www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign/
The United Nations reports: "Forests cover 30 per cent of the planet's total land area. The total forested area in 2005 was just under 4 billion hectares, at least one third less than before the dawn of agriculture, some 10,000 years ago. ... Six million hectares of primary forest are lost every year due to deforestation and modification through selective logging and other human interventions."
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 the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 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 http://www.sistersofmercy.org/justice/issues/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=347&Itemid=202
Various Pentecost prayers can be found on the site of CAFOD, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, at http://www.cafod.org.uk/worship/pentecost .
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.