HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues. – Acts 2:4
During a mission trip to Vancouver, our hosts told us that God gave us a chance to rest first and have some form of recreation. So they toured us around the city.
I will never forget our day on Grouse Mountain. Grouse Mountain is the peak of Vancouver, just 15 minutes away from downtown, but with a 1,250-feet elevation. The place is fantastic. From the top, we could see the entire city, the mountains and the sea. Coming down from the spectacular spot, we had an additional treat — a cable car ride.
I noticed that all who were riding our car had a different nationality. People spoke in their own language. It reminded me of the scene at Pentecost. I felt like I was in the Upper Room with the disciples of Jesus experiencing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and everybody was speaking in tongues! It was a bit strange hearing all the unfamiliar sounds, but something deep inside me knew that everybody spoke of the beauty of God’s creation.
I looked outside, saw the splendor of God’s work and let my own spirit sing: “How great is our God, sing with me. How great is our God, all will see how great, how great is our God….” Arun Gogna
Let your heart sing today of how great the Lord is in your life.
Thank You, Lord, that I can speak and sing to You. Amen.
MORE THAN RELEASING A DOVE
Why are doves released during weddings? Most of the time, the response I got to my queries are shoulder shrugs and long stares. Some people sometimes manage to mumble incoherent and confusing explanations. Well, I am sure there could have been a very good explanation for this wedding ritual. It is just that along the way, the stories of origin and significance have been lost. The ritual was carried through and passed on without much thought about its true meaning. This is, of course, sad.
How about Pentecost? We know it to be the commemoration of Jesus’ release of the promised Holy Spirit to His apostles. In Christian art, this Holy Spirit has been portrayed as a dove. What difference does this have with the wedding ceremony of releasing doves?
The Church has always proclaimed in her kerygmatic — her core teaching — that the heart of the life of Jesus was His passion, death and resurrection. And in the Church’s renewed appreciation of the liturgy, the Church sustains that Pentecost, not Ascension Sunday, is the end of the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. Sacred Scriptures is witness to this: that the end of Jesus’ ministry was that He might send us the Holy Spirit. The latest and most reflective of the Gospels – St. John’s – testifies that during Jesus’ last moments on the Cross, He did not only breathe His last — Jesus “handed over His spirit” (John 19:30). And when His sacred side was finally pierced, “immediately blood and water flowed out” (John 19:34).
The Holy Spirit is more than a dove. The Holy Spirit is the breath of the Father and the Son; He is the love without end between the Father and the Son. Therefore He is God as the Father and the Son, the power and dynamism of the Trinity. This is then what Pentecost brings us: the opening of heaven, the empowerment of every Christian with the very life and power of God. Pentecost is then known as our birthday as a Church — a community of believers charged and empowered to continue the task of Jesus. Fr. Domie Guzman
As you make your prayer time today, spend a good time asking Jesus for a renewal of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.
Blessed Albert of Bergamo, Dominican tertiary, pray for us.
Mary is with the disciples at Pentecost. As Mother of the Church, it is appropriate for her to be there. Having given birth to the Son of God, He also chose her to be present at the birth of the Church. As we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit today, let us be aware that we stand in a tradition of God’s work with a people who are His own. It is our privilege and responsibility to carry on that work.
1 When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. 2 And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. 3 Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. 6 At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? 9 We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, 11 both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”
P S A L M
Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
R: Lord, send out your spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD, my God, you are great indeed! 24 How manifold are your works, O LORD! The earth is full of your creatures. (R) 31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD be glad in his works! 34 Pleasing to him be my theme; I will be glad in the LORD. (R) 29 If you take away their breath, they perish and return to their dust. 30 When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth. (R)
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are many and varied. In fact, lists of the gifts appear in the Scriptures several times, particularly in the writings of Paul. These gifts are to be used for building up the Body of Christ. No one has a monopoly on all or even any one of them. They work best when used within the context of the Christian community. Let us seek to be generous in how we share our gifts with others.
1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
3 Brothers and sisters: No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. 4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 5 there are different forms of service but the same Lord; 6 there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. 7 To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. 12 As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.
G O S P E L
Jesus breathes the gift of the Spirit on His apostles. This act harks back to the scriptural text where the Spirit of God hovered over the chaos of the deep and brought forth the creation of the world. It give us an indication of the power of the Spirit who is being given to us. Through the Holy Spirit we partake in the power of God Himself — a preparation for union with Him in eternal life.
19 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.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
think:Am I generous with my spiritual gifts?