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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, May 19, 2013

By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service

May 19, Pentecost Sunday

Cycle C. Readings:

1) Acts 2:1-11

Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34

2) 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Romans 8:8-17

Gospel: John 20:19-23 or John 14:15-16, 23b-26

In 1995, marriage therapist Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a best-selling book and launched a theory that among men and women in relationship there are five preferred ways of expressing love. These five "love languages" -- which include gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch -- are the ways each of us "hears" and responds best to the tangible expression that matches our distinctive emotional needs for love.

Today's readings are replete with examples of God's love languages to human beings. The most obvious and easily grasped is the language of all created things. According to the psalmist, the same Spirit who hovered over the waters in the act of creation continues to sustain and renew all of his manifold works, affirming them in their goodness.

God's desire to encounter us even more tangibly has expressed itself in the physical, human flesh and blood of his son Jesus. In the Gospel reading, the risen Jesus is most recognizable when he shows his disciples the wounds in his hands and side. And his very breath -- the breath of the Spirit that brings peace and forgiveness -- is the gift that he leaves with them for all time.

St. Paul underscores the varieties of the workings of the Spirit, accomplishing different acts of service in each member of the one body. The Spirit who enables us to acknowledge Jesus as Lord is also the one who produces the manifold workings of God for everyone's benefit.

Nowhere is the declaration of the Spirit's willingness to communicate in multiple ways more apparent than in the familiar narrative of Pentecost. The phenomenon of devout Jews, gathered in Jerusalem from "every nation under heaven," who suddenly and inexplicably hear and understand the Galilean disciples in their own language, is incredible -- but hardly surprising. The Spirit is the love language of God, generously adapting himself to the unique needs of each person, pouring out upon us so that we, in turn, can speak his language to all.


What is the love language to which you respond the best? In what way does the Spirit "speak" to you most distinctively and clearly?


"We hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God." -- Acts 2:11


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