May 24, 2015 - PENTECOST SUNDAY
Vigil: Gn 11: 1 - 9 / Rom 9: 22 - 27 / Jn 7: 37 - 39
Day: Acts 2: 1 –11 / 1 Cor 12: 3b - 7, 12 – 13 / Jn 20: 19 -23
First Reading: Acts 2:1 –11
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. And suddenly out of the sky came a sound like a strong rushing wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared tongues as if of fire which parted and came to rest upon each one of them. All were filled with Holy Spirit and began to speak other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.
Staying in Jerusalem were religious Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered, all excited because each heard them speaking in his own language. Full of amazement and wonder, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? How is it that we hear them in our own native language? Here are Parthians, Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and foreigners who accept Jewish beliefs, Cretians and Arabians; and all of us hear them proclaiming in our own language what God, the Savior, does.
Second Reading: 1 Cor 12: 3b - 7, 12 – 13
I tell you that nobody inspired by the Spirit of God may say, "A curse on Jesus," as no one can say, "Jesus is the Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.
There is diversity of gifts, but the Spirit is the same. There is diversity of ministries, but the Lord is the same. There is diversity of works, but the same God works in all.
The Spirit reveals his presence in each one with a gift that is also a service.
As the body is one, having many members, and all the members, while being many, form one body, so it is with Christ. All of us, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, have been baptized in one Spirit to form one body and all of us have been given to drink from the one Spirit.
Gospel: Jn 20: 19 - 23
On the evening of that day, the first day after the sabbath, the doors were locked where the disciples were, because of their fear of the Jews, but Jesus came and stood in their midst. He said to them, "Peace be with you"; then he showed them his hands and side. The disciples kept looking at the Lord and were full of joy. . . . "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. . . . Receive the Holy Spirit; for those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained."
It is easy to stay within our comfort zones, away from difficulties and contingencies which challenge our accustomed ways. Today's celebration of Pentecost Sunday reminds us that this is not the Christian way of living. We are always called by our empowering God to break free from false insecurities and to receive his Spirit which allows us to face life head-on.
In today's Gospel reading, we see how the Lord's grieving disciples had locked themselves in the upper room for fear of the same authorities who had crucified their Master. Somehow they found comfort and security in staying together and hiding away from the rest of the world. They were afraid and were not ready to move on.
But God had other plans. In his earthly ministry, Jesus had taught them to have trust in him and in the Father. He had sent them on mission to places beyond their own towns and people to announce the Good News, cure the sick and cast out demons. This evening despite the closed doors and shut windows, the Lord appears to them to reassure them and to share his peace with them, "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And he breathed on them, "Receive the Holy Spirit; for those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained." The Lord called them out of their self-imposed security and empowered them with his Spirit so they would no longer live in fear but be living witnesses of God's mercy for all.
We too experience a similar invitation from the Lord. Though we may not readily admit it, we would rather live quiet lives, away from anything and anybody who may disturb our hard-earned comfort, privacy and security. We wish to keep things this way for the rest of our lives.
But with Christ beckoning to us, we cannot remain locked in ourselves and our own comfort zones. The Lord invites us to go out of ourselves and to take part in his mission and empowers us with the Spirit to do so.
It is this same Spirit who has called us to be a missionary Church, a Church able to speak the languages of the world in order to preach the saving word of God to all peoples. It is the same Spirit who dwells in us, helping us to pray, sustaining us in our labors, encouraging us to forgive and calling us to love. It is the same Spirit who has empowered Pope Francis to challenge us, "The Church must step outside herself. To go where? To the outskirts of existence, whatever they may be, but she must step out."
We simply cannot just play it safe.
Had Jesus played it safe and hid from his enemies, we would not have been saved. Jesus embraced God's Spirit and was so absolutely obedient to the Father's will, even if it led to his suffering and death on the cross. It was also the same Spirit that gave him hope in his own resurrection.
It is this same Spirit that he shares with us, as he did on the first Pentecost Sunday and as he does today and always, to remind us that "playing it safe does not save us."
WE PRAY FOR MTQ DAILY PRAYER DIARY INTENTIONS:
IN MEMORIAM (+)
For the eternal repose of the soul of Amado Santiago.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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