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.
Shortly after Easter one year, a woman in my parish who had been received into the Church at the Easter Vigil told me how welcomed she felt in the Catholic family. The sense of openness and tolerance she experienced was especially important to her.
It’s a characteristic of Catholicism to see God’s goodness in all of creation, in various human endeavors, and in the cultures and histories of human beings wherever the Gospel is preached. While we haven’t always lived up to that ideal, I was happy that my new parishioner experienced something of that spirit.
That universal dimension is also one of the themes of Pentecost. The dramatic story of the descent of the Holy Spirit tells us how the Holy Spirit can break down walls we may put up between peoples, races, and cultures. What we see as obstacles, the Spirit can use to create a new unity: a reversal of the story of the tower of Babel in Genesis, when people let human arrogance lead to disunity, as one human language fractured into many different tongues.
Today across the world, a myriad of voices, different languages, and many cultural expressions will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. Let’s join our voices with that Pentecost chorus.
What was the Jewish Feast of Pentecost, referenced in the first reading? What does the name Pentecost mean? Hint: It means a number.
What happened to the disciples of Jesus who were all gathered together?
What was the reaction of the crowd of people from many places who gathered when they heard the sound of the mighty wind blowing? What surprised them?
In the second reading, St. Paul talks about the many different gifts given by the Holy Spirit. He says, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit." Is that what truly happens in the Church?
If someone is good at something, we say that he or she has a gift for that. What gifts or talents do you see in your family? What gifts do you see in your mother and father? In your sisters and brothers?
Jesus appeared to the disciples on the first day of the week. What did he say to them, according to this week's Gospel?
Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Who is the Holy Spirit? What did the Holy Spirit do for the disciples in their mission? In their work to spread the Gospel?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
This week, we celebrate Pentecost, which marks the appearance of the Holy Spirit to the disciples. The Holy Spirit is often represented in the form of a dove. Here are instructions for how to make an origami dove.
Do you know how to speak any languages other than the one you usually speak? If not, make an effort to learn how to say at least one phrase in another language, such as "peace," hello," or "I love you."