The Holy Spirit, life of the Church. Pentecost Sunday (A)

Joseph Evans comments on the readings for Pentecost Sunday (A) and Luis Herrera offers a short video homily.

Joseph Evans-May 25, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes

The Holy Spirit bestows gifts, both personal and communal, and thus builds up the Church in its individual parts and as a body. This is very much the message of today's readings on this great feast of Pentecost.

The readings show the Holy Spirit as the power of God that overcomes the fear and ignorance of human beings.

When the disciples were gathered together with the door shut "for fear of the Jews." Jesus appears among them.

In sending them, he gives them the gift of the Spirit so that, as priests and bishops, they can forgive sins. The Spirit thus shows himself to be the Spirit of courage, evangelizing zeal and forgiveness. 

The first reading speaks to us of Pentecost. What was first the gentle breath of Christ on the day of his Resurrection is now magnified, after his Ascension, into an impetuous wind that impels the apostles to go out and preach to the multitudes (the Hebrew word for Pentecost). "ruah" may mean "puff", "wind" y "spirit").

It is as if, having been exalted once again to the right hand of his Father, the Son of God had regained all of his "puff", which he then pours out upon the earth. As taught by several Fathers of the Church, the Spirit can be considered as the "kiss" loving relationship between the Father and the Son, their shared breath, yet without forgetting that he is as much God and divine person as the Father and the Son. 

At Pentecost, the Spirit becomes the Spirit of understanding that allows people of very different languages and cultures to understand in their own language what was probably the Aramaic preaching of the apostles. "Are not all those who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them speaking in our native tongue?"

In this way, the Spirit overcomes in the Church the divisions and the lack of communication caused by human pride after the Tower of Babel: "And the Lord said, 'Let us go down and confuse their language there, so that no one may understand the language of his neighbor'... Therefore it is called Babel, for there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth" (Gen 11:7-9).

As we read in the psalm, the Spirit is the creative Spirit, who renews the face of the earth and gives life to all things.

And in the second reading, St. Paul tells the Corinthians that the Spirit creates in us the virtue of faith, leading us to proclaim Jesus as "Sir" and inspiring us to realize "diversity of ministries", granting all kinds of gifts to individuals for the purpose of "the common good": wisdom, knowledge, miracles, prophecy, tongues...

This is what the Spirit could do in our lives and communities, if only, close to Mary, we were more open to his action.

Greater prayer to the Spirit would lead to greater courage, zeal for souls, forgiveness and understanding, and to a whole range of spiritual gifts and greater creativity in our interior and ecclesial life.

Homily on the readings of Pentecost Sunday (A)

The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaA short one-minute reflection for these Pentecost Sunday readings.

La Brújula Newsletter Leave us your email and receive every week the latest news curated with a catholic point of view.