Gospel Reflection – Sunday, May 19, 2024 – John 20:19-23 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 2:1-11)

Reading from the Acts of the Apostles:

When the day of Pentecost arrived, the disciples were all gathered in the same place. Suddenly, a noise came from the sky like a strong wind, which filled the house where they were. Then tongues like fire appeared and parted and rested on each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit inspired them.

Devoted Jews from all the nations of the world lived in Jerusalem. When they heard the noise, the crowd gathered, and everyone was confused, because each one heard the disciples speaking in their own language. Filled with astonishment and admiration, they said: “Aren’t these men who are speaking all Galileans? How do we hear them in our own language? We who are Parthians, Medes and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the part of Libya near Cyrene, also Romans who reside here; Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs, we all heard them proclaiming the wonders of God in our own language!”

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Second Reading (1Cor 12,3b-7.12-13)

Reading of the First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians:

Brothers: No one can say: Jesus is Lord, except in the Holy Spirit. There are diversity of gifts, but one is the Spirit. There are diversity of ministries, but one is the Lord. There are different activities, but the same God who accomplishes all things in everyone. Each person is given the manifestation of the Spirit in view of the common good. As the body is one, although it has many members, and as all the members of the body, although they are many, form one body, so it is with Christ. In fact, all of us, Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, were baptized in one Spirit, to form one body, and we all drink of one Spirit.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Announcement of the Gospel (John 20,19-23)

— PROCLAMATION of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At dusk on that day, the first day of the week, when the doors to the place where the disciples were were closed for fear of the Jews, Jesus entered and, standing in their midst, said: “Peace be with you.” After these words, he showed them his hands and side. Then the disciples rejoiced to see the Lord. Again, Jesus said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And after he had said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whoever you forgive the sins of, they will be forgiven; whoever you do not forgive them, they will be withheld from you.”

– Word of Salvation.

– Glory to you Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

My brothers and sisters in Christ,

May the peace of our Lord be with you! Today we gather here, moved by the Holy Spirit, to celebrate the feast of Pentecost – one of the most significant moments in the history of the Church.

Imagine for a moment being in a locked room, scared, not knowing what the future holds. It may be a very familiar experience for some of us. Now, imagine that, in an instant, that fear is replaced by an indescribable courage, a confidence that transforms your life forever. This is the reality of Pentecost, a powerful transformation by the Holy Spirit that changed the world and can change our lives today.

Dear brothers and sisters, we all face moments of uncertainty, fear and confusion. It could be a personal crisis, a challenge at work, or even broader issues affecting our society. But the message of today’s Scripture reminds us that God never leaves us alone. He sends us the Holy Spirit to strengthen, guide and renew us.

On the day of Pentecost, as described in the Acts of the Apostles, the disciples were gathered in one place when, suddenly, a sound like a rushing wind filled the house. Tongues of fire rested on each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them power. This extraordinary event attracted the attention of people from all nations who were in Jerusalem, each listening to the disciples speak in their own language about the wonders of God.

This miracle shows us that the Holy Spirit is a unifying and transforming power. In a world so divided by languages, cultures and ideologies, the Holy Spirit calls us to unity. He enables us to overcome our differences and come together as one family of God. Think of tongues of fire as the flame that burns in our hearts, moving us to love and serve one another regardless of our differences.

Saint Paul teaches us that there are diversity of gifts, but the Spirit is the same. There are different types of service, but the Lord is the same. There are different ways of acting, but it is the same God who effects everything in everyone. In a body, there are many members, but they all form one body. In the same way, we, baptized in one Spirit, form one body in Christ.

This passage is a powerful reminder that each of us has a unique and essential role in the Church. Every gift we possess, every talent, is given by God for the benefit of all. Let’s think of a human body: each organ, each member has a specific and vital function. So are we, as members of the Body of Christ. We must value our own gifts and also the gifts of others, recognizing that they are all necessary for the fullness of the Christian life.

In the Gospel of John, we find the disciples locked in a room out of fear of the Jews. Jesus appears among them and says: “Peace be with you.” He shows his hands and side, and the disciples rejoice to see the Lord. Jesus then breathes on them and says: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whoever’s sins you forgive, they will be forgiven; whoever you retain, they will be retained.”

Here, Jesus shows us the power of the Holy Spirit as a source of peace and forgiveness. In the midst of fear and uncertainty, He offers peace. In a world marked by sin and division, He gives us the power to forgive. The Holy Spirit is the breath of new life, the constant presence of God that enables us to live as authentic disciples.

Allow me to share a story that illustrates these principles well. In a small town, there was a church with a diverse congregation. Each member brought their own gifts: some were great at teaching, some at serving, some at music, and some at counseling. However, there was a man named John who felt he had no talent. He did not know how to sing, teach, or serve in any obvious way. He felt useless and often thought about leaving the church.

One day, a fire broke out in the city, and everyone was in a panic. João, who worked as a volunteer firefighter, ran to help. He organized rescue efforts, helped put out the fire and saved several lives. After this incident, the congregation realized how valuable John was. He had a gift of leadership and courage that was crucial to the community.

This story shows us that each of us has a special gift. Even if it’s not obvious, God has given us unique abilities that can make a significant difference in times of need.

Wind and fire are powerful metaphors for the Holy Spirit. The wind, invisible but powerful, represents the movement of Spirit in our lives, guiding us and moving us in unexpected directions. Fire, with its ability to purify and transform, represents the sanctification that the Spirit brings, burning away our imperfections and renewing us. Let’s think about how wind and fire work together: the wind feeds the fire, and the fire shines brighter. Thus, the Holy Spirit urges us to shine the light of Christ in the world.

So how can we apply these lessons to our daily lives?

Seek Unity: We must work to overcome our divisions and seek unity in our families, communities, and churches. Recognize that, even in our diversity, we are one body in Christ.

Valuing Gifts: We must identify and value our own gifts and those of others, knowing that everyone has a vital role to play in God’s plan.

Practice Forgiveness: We must be quick to forgive and seek reconciliation, remembering that forgiveness is one of the greatest powers that the Holy Spirit gives us.

Be Guided by the Spirit: We must open our hearts and minds to the leading of the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to guide us in all areas of our lives.

Dear brothers and sisters, Pentecost reminds us of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. It unites us, strengthens us and enables us to live as true disciples of Christ. As we leave here today, may we carry that flame in our hearts, allowing the Spirit to guide us, transform us, and use us to spread God’s love in a world that needs it so much.

May the peace of Christ be with us all, and may the Holy Spirit lead us to a life of love, service and unity. Amen.