Pentecost Sunday Year A

Pentecost Sunday, Cycle A

Pulpit Plan

Theme : God dwells with men and women on earth!

1st Reading: Acts 2:1-11

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 104

2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:3-7.12-13

Gospel : John 20:19-23

  • On Ascension Thursday, we read in the Acts of the Apostles that while the disciples gazed up into heaven as Jesus was taken from their sight, two men stood by in white robes and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?”
  • And so, these “Men of Galilee” return to Jerusalem and go to the room where they were staying – a room large enough to hold 120 people.
    • This is the same large Upper Room in which Jesus and the apostles gathered on Holy Thursday to celebrate the Last Supper and the room in which the Eucharist was instituted!
  • These “Men of Galilee” were the remaining 11 apostles, Barsabbas and Matthias (who was to replace Judas as an apostle) as well as many women.
    • Luke specifically identifies Our Lady, but if we were to speculate, perhaps the other women could have been Mary Magdalene, Martha and Mary (the sisters of Lazarus), Mary the wife of Clopas and maybe even Rhoda whom we read about in Chapter 12 of Acts.
  • For nine days leading up to Pentecost, these 120 men and women prayed together!
  • Pentecost was an old, traditional Jewish feast, celebrated 50 days after the Passover.
    • It commemorated the arrival of the people of Israel at Mount Sinai, the giving of the 10 Commandments and the establishment of the Covenant between God and his people
      • For those in our parish who participated in our Lenten programme and read the entire Book of Exodus over the 40 days – you will remember this well!
    • Our Christian Pentecost also celebrates a covenant – the new Covenant
      • Today we celebrate, not the Law, but the fulfilment of the Law. Jesus came to complete and fulfil the Law!
      • Our Covenant with God is not about following laws, it is instead about living in relationship with him!
      • The Holy Spirit allows God to live in us and us in him!
    • So, our Christian Pentecost has roots in the Old Testament!
    • But there is something else we need to recall from the Old Testament:
      • In the second Book of Chronicles, the temple in Jerusalem is constructed and the young king Solomon oversees its dedication and 120 priests perform the required rituals of purification!
      • Into this temple and the Holy of Holies comes the Ark of the Covenant containing the two tablets of stone given to Moses on Mount Sinai!
      • After a long prayer, King Solomon asks the question: “Will God indeed dwell with men upon the earth?” (2 Chronicles 6:18)
        • The answer is Yes!
      • Today’s great feast affirms the Yes!
      • In the temple there were 120 priests praising God with one voice – in the Upper Room 120 disciples were praying with one voice
      • In the temple the glory of God fills the Holy of Holies – in the Upper Room the glory of God rests on each of the 120 disciples in the form of tongues of fire
      • Jesus had promised to send the Comforter, the Advocate, the Gift of the Father to his disciples
        • This promise is fulfilled by the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the 120 disciples in the Upper Room
        • This Holy Spirit forms the disciples into the new temples of God – God lives in his people, in a new and incredibly intimate way!
      • This new Pentecost experience, by establishing a new covenant and a new intimacy with God, gave the disciples a new purpose and mission:
        • They are now to make present the risen Jesus in and to the world!
        • The Church has been born, because that is the purpose and mission of the Church; it came into existence to proclaim Jesus!
      • The Second Vatican Council described the Church as the sacrament of both the intimate union between humankind and God and of the unity of the whole of humanity itself!
        • What happened in the Upper Room to those 120 disciples happens to us too!
          • The Holy Spirit we receive through the Sacraments binds us into a deeply personal relationship with God
          • The Holy Spirit lives in us and makes us temples of his presence!
        • Clearly, every member of the Church has a vital role to play in the life of the Church and its mission to the world!
        • Each one of us has the responsibility to discover, by prayer and reflection, what our role is in this mission!
          • Believe me, we all have a role to play – if we have been baptised, we have a role in the mission of the Church – that’s when we were given our mission!
        • If we are to be the Church, we must open ourselves to the Holy Spirit and allow it to live in us and help us to live our own part of the mission!
        • If we are open to the Holy Spirit and faithful to our mission, we can answer King Solomon with utter conviction, and say: “Yes, God does dwell with men and women upon the earth!”

 

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