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Scripture of the Week

DAILY SCRIPTURES

Reflection on the DAILY SCRIPTURES can be found at the following links:

'Our Daily Prayer' - Jesuit Communications (Australia) 

Commentaries on the Daily Readings from SACREDSPACE (Ireland) 

Readings and Reflections on the day's Scripture (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) 

Daily Readings and Reflections (Passionist Fathers - USA) 

Commentary on the Gospel Reading for each day of the month (Dominican Fathers - Ireland)  

SUNDAY SCRIPTURES

Reflect on the Sunday Scriptures with:

Sr. Veronica Lawson rsm   SEE BELOW

Fr. John McKinnon click here

Fr. John Thornhill  click here

GOSPEL AND REFLECTION

SUNDAY 31 MAY 2020: PENTECOST SUNDAY YEAR A

First Reading - Acts 2:1-11

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak different languages.

When Pentecost day came round, the apostles had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 103:1. 24. 29-31. 34. R. v.30

(R.) Lord, send out your Spirit

and renew the face of the earth.

or

(R.) Alleluia.

Second Reading - 1 Cor 12:3-7, 12-13

In the one Spirit we were all baptised, making one body.

No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose.

Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia!

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful

and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Alleluia!

Gospel - Jn 20:19-23

As the Father sent me, so I send you: Receive the Holy Spirit.

In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,

so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.

For those whose sins you forgive,

they are forgiven:

for those whose sins you retain,

they are retained.’

Gospel Reflection:

Pentecost Sunday is often called the birthday of the Church. The earth itself features powerfully in the imagery associated with this feast: harvest, mountain, earthquake, thunder, fire. For the ancient Israelites, Pentecost (meaning ‘fiftieth’) was a harvest festival celebrated fifty days after the opening of the harvest. When the Jerusalem Temple was built, this harvest festival was transformed into a pilgrimage feast to celebrate the covenant that Israel had made with God on Mt Sinai. Several decades after the death of Jesus, the early Christians reflected on their origins and chose this feast to mark the birth of God’s new covenant with God’s people. In today’s first reading (Acts 2:1-11), Luke tells the new Pentecost story in symbolic language that evokes the story of Moses and the people of Israel receiving God’s Law on Mt. Sinai. Just as God’s presence to Israel was marked by earthquake and thunder and fire, so God’s Spirit enveloping the people of the new covenant in the upper room appears in a mighty rush of wind and tongues of fire. Luke’s account also evokes early rabbinic teaching that the voice of God on Sinai divided into seventy tongues and all the nations received God’s Law in their own tongue. 

For the teaching at the heart of the new covenant, we turn to the gospel reading from John 20:19-23. The resurrected Christ appears to the disciples who are huddled behind locked doors. He offers the simple greeting: “Peace be with you,” the greeting we have been in the practice of offering each other with a simple gesture at every Eucharistic celebration-until Covid-19 challenged us to find other ways of communicating the peace of Christ. Jesus sends his disciples on a mission of peace in continuity with his own God-inspired mission. He breathes on them the gift of the Holy Spirit and tells them that God will forgive those whom they forgive, and will “retain” or “seize hold of” the transgressions of those whose sins or transgressions they “retain”. To seize hold of wrong-doing is to expose it and deal with it. Sometimes it is best to forgive and simply allow everyone to move on. In other situations, an easy amnesty only exacerbates the problem.

Much of the enduring conflict in our world derives from the inability of ordinary people and of both church and civic leaders to know how to deal with transgression. The Holy Spirit is the unique source of our capacity to deal with the perpetrators of violence. The Holy Spirit is likewise the source of our power to forgive, of our power to refrain from vengeance and our power to ensure restoration and healing. In our times, the earth itself cries out for forgiveness, for restoration and for healing.  As we celebrate this feast of the Holy Spirit in a time of pandemic, we might consider engaging in a “values inventory” by looking at how much of our personal and collective resources we invest in the things that make for peace.

Sr Veronica Lawson rsm

© The scriptural quotations are taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Co Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. The English translation of the Psalm Responses, the Alleluia and Gospel Verses, and the Lenten Gospel Acclamations, and the Titles, Summaries, and Conclusion of the Readings, from the Lectionary for Mass © 1997, 1981, 1968, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

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