Bulletin: June 5, 2022
In today's Gospel Luke, the author of Acts, links the "time of Pentecost" to the Jewish Feast of Weeks. This was a harvest festival, fifty days after Passover. The feast became a celebration of God's gift of the Torah, the law of Moses, remembering Exodus 19. Luke suggests that just as the Feast of Weeks was a culmination of Passover, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was a culmination of the Resurrection. In both Passover and Easter, God's extraordinary saving action rescued God's people from oppression and death. Because of these actions, the stage was set for the gift of Torah, and similarly for Christians, the gift of the Spirit. The ongoing presence of the Spirit sustains us to face life's burdens gracefully. The Spirit also challenges us daily to mature in our capacity to love, and to take part in God's ongoing work to rescue all God's people.
WHAT GOD IS UP TO
The Christian community gathered in the Upper Room, awaiting the Holy Spirit, has long stirred the Christian imagination. In our own time, when the Church has a long history of Christian faith but now faces many challenges, we might return to this image. Like the first disciples, we often don't know what to do next. What used to work for us doesn't work as well. We need to stay together, honor diversity, reflect upon the roots of our faith, and remain rooted in prayer.
Yet there is more. Pentecost has happened and is happening. The Spirit has already burst out into the world, already stirring among those who are confused about God. The Book of Acts tells the story of a Church continually pushed out by the Spirit, to join in what God was already up to, out in the world. We too are invited not only to remember our unity and our roots, but to pay acute attention to how the Spirit is working in our local communities.
VARIETY OF GIFTS
In today's second reading, Saint Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth, a community encountering tensions and divisions over spiritual gifts. Paul reminds them that the Spirit shares a variety of gifts; none is better than any other, and all are needed by the whole Church. The Spirit is revealed in the diversity of gifts offered by individuals and by distinct groups. The Spirit desires that the Church live as an interdependent, cohesive whole, as the Body of Christ.
A parish can be a collegial partnership where parishioners, clergy, and ministry staff can confidently share God's gifts. Gifts from persons and groups of diverse backgrounds can be honored. Gifts that tend to be less visible, such as in finance, custodial work, or administration, can be celebrated as much as those in preaching and music. May we notice God's grace in this diversity.
Today's Readings: Acts 2:1-11; Ps 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34; 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Rom 8:8-17; Jn 20:19-23 or Jn 14:15-16, 23b-26