Scripture Reflection, May 28, 2023, Pentecost Sunday
Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 John 20:19-23
We read two versions of the gift of the Holy Spirit today. In the first reading from Acts, Luke tells us the disciples were gathered together when they heard a noise like a strong wind and saw what appeared to be tongues of fire over each of them. In John's gospel version of the gift of the Spirit, it is Easter night. Jesus comes to the disciples through locked doors and gifts them with the Holy Spirit.
Both scriptures lead to mission.
Luke tells us that the disciples’ immediate response to the Spirit is to leave the house where they were gathered and preach to the Jews gathered to celebrate the Jewish harvest feast. In the gospel, after bidding them peace, Jesus gives the disciples their assignment: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you. “
We call today’s feast day, Pentecost, occurring fifty days after
Easter, "the birthday of the church” because it is this mission, to continue Christ's work in the world that is at the heart of what it means to be Church.
We come together as church not primarily for our own sakes but to be transformed into agents of the gospel in the world: to bring justice and mercy, to heal and feed and shelter as Jesus did, to challenge oppressive structures, to affirm and include the forgotten and marginalized.
As we share the Eucharist, his body and blood, we become one with him. We are transformed. And to the extent that we are able, we too are poured out as self -gift. No longer are our time, our energy, our resources our own. But now, following his footsteps, we give freely all that we have and are to this mission, to build the Kingdom of God on earth.
Without the Spirit, this Holy Wind beneath our wings, the task would be impossible. But leaning, not on ourselves but on the strength of the Spirit with us, we can do all things.
by: Pat Schnee