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Reflection Pentecost May 23, 2021

Jeanne Marie Hatch, SHCJ - May 21, 2021

Pentecost Sunday   May 23, 2021

Today we celebrate the great and awesome feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and Mary. Today we also remember how this same Holy Spirit resides in each one of us created to live in love and truth and peace. Just like the Apostles, we may try to hide behind fearful, closed hearts but the Spirit seeks us out and opens us to receive manifold gifts. Jesus breaks through locked barriers and shares gifts of forgiveness and peace with his friends, including each one of us. He also commissions his Apostles and all of us to share those gifts with all those in our worlds near and far. With the Apostles we are called to go into the world and share them. An overwhelming task, but the power of this Spirit knows no bounds. In the psalm response we pray: “Send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth!”  Our world today needs renewal along multiple fronts. Only the Spirit of God’s grace is capable to effect the needed transformation. Only those who have received the message are able to share it effectively with those in our close circles and far beyond. An overwhelming mission, only feasible with the Spirit’s guidance!

St. Paul’s letter tells us we have the gifts we need for the different forms of service; there are different works but the same Spirit is at work. He uses the familiar comparison of the body and its many parts working in harmony for the good of the whole. The alternate reading from Galatians describes these twelve major gifts of the Spirit. Imagine what a world we would live in if we all acted on these gifts: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-restraint! Such is the Spirit of the living God, to pour out on us such lavish gifts! Today’s liturgy also proclaims the Sequence for Pentecost, a beautiful prayer that pleads for God to send us these manifold gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit. The Alleluia verse shouts out loud: “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love!”  

Today’s gospel repeats Jesus’ message to the Apostles. He promises that God will send them the Advocate, the Spirit of truth, who will guide them to all truth. The readings from the Acts of the Apostles describe the wind and fire that accompanies the coming of the Spirit. These images of strength and power are evident when the Holy Spirit rests on the head of each one, in the midst of roaring, fierce winds. Another result of this coming of the Spirit was that each one speaking in his own tongue was understood by all those gathered. The Spirit enables us to listen and understand one another today as well, if we are open to the voice and the gift.     

This verse from a hymn to the Holy Spirit seems especially appropriate as we celebrate Pentecost and begin this summertime of 2021.

Send us good summer, O Lord!

Winter has chilled us, has stilled us too long.

Give us Love’s own fire. Be our true desire!

Give us your Spirit, O Lord.

Happy Feast of Pentecost!

Sister Jeanne, SHCJ