Come, Holy Ghost

Pentecost Sunday, May 11

(At the Vigil) Genesis 11:1-9 or Exodus 19:3-8a,16-20b or Ezekiel 37:1-14 or Joel 3:1-5; Psalm 104:1-2,24,35,27-28,29,30; Romans 8:22-27; John 7:37-39. (Mass during the day) Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104:1,24,29-30,31,34; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7,12-13; John 20:19-23

At our vigil this Saturday we have the choice of one reading from the four presented, each of which are appropriate as they all tell of the early interaction between God and his people.

The account of the people in Genesis has them aiming to make a name for themselves. In Exodus the Lord calls Moses to tell the people what they must do to become a holy nation. Ezekiel was led by the Lord to a field filled with bones and Joel quotes the Lord as telling us that he will work wonders that will precede the coming of the Messiah.

The brief Gospel of this vigil simply tells us that the Spirit will come to those who believe — that’s us!

On Pentecost Sunday we again sing the familiar psalm refrain: “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.” We have been singing this for many years and we may be tempted to wonder when this renewal will take place. There are still wars and abuse of power causing fear, but there is also a renewal as we listen to God’s word and break the bread of a true communion.

As Jesus ascended to heaven, the nucleus of his ministry remained in Jerusalem — the 11 remaining disciples (no Judas) and many others, including Jesus’ mother and several unnamed women. They all stayed in the upper room as directed by Jesus’ final instruction: “Stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” That is the “baptism” given by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Prayer was the formative activity of this group that will soon become the church that will be ours. Before public preaching, healing, missions, imprisonments and even martyrdoms, there was first a community of prayer that soon became named as Christians. To this day we are invited and encouraged to be part of such a group as we “pass over” from death to life because we know God and are in union with him.

Our responsibility now is to spread the Good News in every way we can.

A former educator and pastoral minister, Sister Michelle Rheinlander, OSB, is now engaged in a ministry of writing at St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island.

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