Gospel Reflection: Solemnity of Pentecost

Reading 1

Acts 2:1-11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
"Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God."


Jn 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, "Peace be with you."
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
"Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained."


In these recent weeks of the Easter Season, we have heard Our Lord’s promises to give us the Advocate, to not leave us orphans, and to remain with us until the end of the age. Faithful to these promises, Our Lord sent the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles at Pentecost. Dispelling the fear and confusion in their hearts, the fire of the Holy Spirit began to burn brightly for them.

In the Christian life, fire is a powerful symbol. After Mass on the Solemnity of Pentecost, the lit Paschal candle will be extinguished and returned to its place at the baptismal font, marking the end of the Easter Season. The fire of this sacred candle no longer burns at each celebration of Mass. However, the fire of the Holy Spirit is now to burn within us. At Baptism, a candle was lit from that very Paschal candle to signify that the Light of Christ — the flame of faith — is to shine in our lives. The Holy Spirit is inviting each baptized Christian to live this.

However, sometimes we may struggle to understand how or where the Holy Spirit is leading us to do this. Perhaps you are discerning how He is calling you to delve more deeply into the faith and share it. Perhaps you are discerning your Vocation and are feeling a bit unsettled. I encourage you to entrust these questions and worries to the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose role at Pentecost cannot go unnoticed. When the Apostles, confused and afraid, gathered in the Upper Room, they prayed with Our Lady. She was with them when the fire of the Holy Spirit sent them out to proclaim the Resurrection, and she continued to pray for them as they carried out her Son’s work. It is for this reason that on Monday, the day after Pentecost, we will celebrate the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, our Diocesan Patroness. She guides all of us in the life of the Church as we continue to discern where the Holy Spirit is leading us to proclaim the Gospel. She never fails to help us.

From those first moments of Pentecost to the present day, the Holy Spirit has been at work in the hearts of the faithful. Let us ask Our Lady, the Mother of the Church, to guide us and pray for us as we discern where the fire of the Holy Spirit is leading us.

Holy Spirit, enkindle in us the fire of Your Love!

Mary, Mother of the Church, Patroness of the Diocese of Allentown, intercede for us!

Please be assured of my prayers for you before Our Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

+ Bishop Schlert


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