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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, May 27, 2012

By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service

May 27, Pentecost Sunday

Cycle B. Readings:

1) Acts 2:1-11

Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34

2) 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13

Gospel: John 20:19-23

As we approach the beginning of Pope Benedict's Year of Faith observance this fall, these Pentecost readings take on a fresh significance, perhaps offering us some glimpses of what we ought to be doing to prepare ourselves.

The reading from Acts focuses on what happened when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples gathered in one room, when a noise came from the sky, "a noise like a strong, driving wind," a wind that brought a fire, tongues of fire, in fact, "which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues." This was really dramatic.

But it gets better, they went out into the street where a crowd had gathered and the crowd -- from Europe, Asia and Africa, the known world -- each heard them speaking "of the mighty acts of God" in their own native language.

Part of what we don't get in this reading, is that the disciples, upon whom the Holy Spirit fell with such overwhelming power, had been gathering to pray and read the Scriptures for some time, waiting on the promise of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had given them.

As we prepare for a new evangelization, I'm betting some of the things the disciples did, we should be doing: gathering together in a spirit of unity, praying, both for one another and others outside our circles, but also for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our own times.

In the many spiritual renewal movements God has given the church in recent decades, Cursillo, charismatic renewal and the Acts movement come to mind, these have been common elements. Perhaps with the foundation laid by Renew and Why Catholic?, we should now enter into a time of prayer for the whole church, not just smaller groups of it, to experience a fire of renewal that will draw crowds to find out what it is that the Holy Spirit is doing with us.

Hopefully they will come to make the observation that was made of the early Christian Church: "See how they love one another."


Have you experienced God's gift of the Holy Spirit, given to you at confirmation, making a difference in your own life? How might you go about increasing the influence of God's spirit on your life?


"Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."

- John 20:21


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