Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104:1,24,29-31,34; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13; John 20:19-23)
Receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit, The Power of God in Us
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:4)
Today we celebrate that great day when the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and the apostles. The power of God was on display in a dramatic way as three thousand people accepted the gospel, repented, were baptized, and joined the Church.
What followed was an exciting and continuous display of God’s power. People came together for prayer and the Eucharist. Many were healed of sicknesses or delivered from demons. Some felt compelled to care for the poor, and others, to proclaim the gospel abroad. Despite tensions from within and persecution from without, the Church continued to grow, all because the Spirit was at work.
Not long after today’s events, a “second Pentecost” occurred, this time to a group of Gentiles in Caesarea (Acts 10:44-48). Once again, Peter preached the gospel, the Holy Spirit was poured out, and many were converted. The people who had come with Peter—all faithful Jews—“were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles” (10:45). Then when Paul ventured out on his missionary journeys, the same thing happened: the gospel was preached, the Spirit was released, people were changed, and the Church grew.
You have the Holy Spirit no less than Peter and Paul and the apostles did. This same Spirit wants to help you draw close to Jesus, and he wants to make you into his instrument of salvation. So take some time today to accept the challenge. Ask him to guide you in the truth. Ask him to take from what is Jesus’ and make it known to you (John 16:13-14). And then try your best to follow the apostles’ example by looking for opportunities to share the good news so that the Spirit can touch more and more people.
“Come, Holy Spirit, and fill me with your love. Send your fire, and renew the face of the earth.”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. The Word Among Us Mass Edition contains all the Mass readings and prayers, and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)
Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
- The first reading describes the moment when the Holy Spirit “came to rest” on each one of the disciples. Witnesses are described as “confused”, “astounded” and “in amazement.” Each of us as baptized Catholics has also received the Holy Spirit. Do you believe there is enough evidence in your life to “convict” you of being a Christian with the Holy Spirit indwelling you? Do you believe that the Lord wants to give you a deeper infilling of his Spirit? How can this happen?
- The responsorial psalm says the Holy Spirit will “renew the face of the earth”. What in your life would you like the Holy Spirit to renew?
- The second reading says that spiritual gifts are given to each of us for the benefit of others. What spiritual gifts have you received from the Holy Spirit that can benefit your family, your parish, and others? What service could your undertake to reach out to others or serve your parish?
- The second reading also uses the metaphor of a body to describe our Church, “and all parts of the body, though many, are one body.” In Christ, all differences are united. How tolerant are you of other members of the body of Christ who are different than you? What steps can you take, individually or with others, to bring more unity to your parish? Are you also willing to reach out to Christians who are not Catholic? If not, why not?
- In the Gospel, Jesus’ first words to the disciples after his resurrection were words of consolation and reassurance: “peace be with you”. Following his example, what practical steps can you take to bring the Lord’s comfort and peace to others? What are the obstacles in you that keep you from witnessing God’s love to others?
- The meditation makes this bold statement: “You have the Holy Spirit no less than Peter and Paul and the apostles did.” Do you believe this? Why or why not? The meditation goes on to say that “This same Spirit wants to help you draw close to Jesus, and he wants to make you into his instrument of salvation.” Who of us would not want the Holy Spirit to move in our lives the way it did in Peter and Paul, as well as in our parish and in our world! In what specific ways would you want the Holy Spirit to manifest himself more powerfully in your life, in your parish, and in the world?
- Take some time now to pray and ask for a deeper infilling of the Holy Spirit. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.