Acts 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23
Today’s feast marks a beginning, the birthday of the Church, when the Holy Spirit descended in the form of fiery tongues on our Lady and the apostles. The same Spirit who hovered over the waters of creation in the beginning now brings to birth a renewed humanity, a new creation, a new beginning.
But Pentecost is not only a fresh start for the human race – it is also an end, an end in the sense of completion, of bringing to completion the paschal mystery, the very goal of Christ’s saving death and resurrection. Pentecost is a unique event in a unique history, when the Spirit came down on the Church in a way he had never done before, and in a way that he has never done in quite the same way since. And the Spirit came down, once and for all, to bring Christ’s paschal mystery to completion and to begin the calling of a new humanity, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, into a single body, a single Church, in praise of a single God, the Creator and Redeemer and Sanctifier of us all.
MARY, QUEEN OF APOSTLES
She is the Maid of Bethlehem,
Mother of Jesus, and Queen of Apostles:
That ragtag group of men
Chosen by Jesus
To change the world.
This is the prototype of all novenas. It commemorates the nine days between the Ascension of Our Lord and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost Sunday. During this time Our Lady and the twelve Apostles prayed in the upper room for the coming of the Paraclete.
Novena to the Holy Spirit
May 22 – May 30, 2020
Feast of Pentecost – May 31, 2020
Acts 25:13b-21; John 21:15-19
I find today’s Gospel both enigmatic – and, somewhat understandable. The enigma – what did Jesus mean with his three questions which were each stated a little differently – “Feed my lambs,” “Tend my sheep,” and, “Feed my sheep.” In that culture at that time with Jesus talking to a male apostle, was there specific language meaning to the choice of words? I don’t know. However, from this Gospel story I take this message for my life – how many times daily do I respond to Christ’s call to me to “tend to others”? How many times daily do I think I’m responding to “tending to others” when perhaps I am not? Am I a 21st century version of Simon Peter and have to be reminded three times every day?
Acts 22:30; 23:6-11; John 17:20-26
An Intimate Conversation
Today’s readings speak about God’s protection. In the first reading Paul is being assured by the Lord that he must keep up his courage for further trials. The Psalmist speaks to the safe refuge found in God’s love. And in the Gospel, Jesus prays that his disciples and all believers may stay close to God. The theme that jumps off the page is an intimate conversation about God’s protection. In all three examples God’s protection was made known through an intimate conversation.
Acts 20:28-38; John 17:11b-19
Jesus prays that God will protect and guard all those given to him in the Father’s name. How can we go wrong, knowing that Jesus continues to pray on our behalf and that God continues to give us strength and power? We shouldn’t think about our lives, then, in terms of our weaknesses, but in terms of our strengths. But that is not so easy to do all of the time, especially as we grow older and have to acknowledge that we are physically weaker and our health is often challenged. I have come to think, however, that during those times, God is even more with us. It is during these times when we draw closer to God for strength that we are even more protected from evil. While we may be weak in some ways, we can become stronger in truth in the word.
Acts 20:17-27; John 17:1-11a
St. Paul gave me chills today as he informed his friends that he would never see them again because he was leaving for Jerusalem. He had no clue what would happen except that he expected “imprisonment and hardships.” He warned the disciples that they might also pay for their beliefs in blood he wasn’t responsible because “I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”
Talk about laying it on the line!!!!
Acts 19:1-8; John 16:29-33
The readings speak to me of many things – the humanity, vulnerability and devotion of Paul and the disciples to Jesus and to each other. They truly want to get it right. They want to understand. They want to know. They want to be faithful and to believe. However, what they experience is their own humanity. It is not in their power to understand this Jesus. They can not go it alone, although there will be many times when each one will be very much alone.
Psalm 27: 1,4, 7-8
1 Peter 4:13-16
John 17: 1-11A
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers (Acts 1:12-14).
This Sunday’s first reading, printed above, is the perfect choice to help us get into the spirit of this moment of the liturgical year, between the Assumption and Pentecost. Here Luke describes the core of Jesus’ disciples gathered together shortly after the Lord’s departure. They will soon become the heart of the first church, the Christian community of Jerusalem.
Acts 18:23-28; John 16:23b-28
All this week we have been reflecting on the Lord’s words from the final discourse in John’s gospel. Again and again Jesus is alerting his disciples that he will soon leave them but that they will be taken care of when he is gone. The lines before today’s reading (Jn 16 ff) repeat the theme. “In a short time you will no longer see me, and then a short time later you will see me again.” Jesus used the dramatic example of a women in childbirth: “A women in childbirth suffers, because her time has come; but when she has given birth to the child she forgets the suffering.”