Sunday, May 31 User Guide
Sunday May 31 is Pentecost Sunday. Mass readings: Acts 2: 1-11; Psalm 104: 1, 24, 29-31, 34; 1 Corinthians 12: 3-7, 12-13; John 20: 19-23.
When I was in third or fourth grade, our teacher invited a guest speaker to address our class on the subject of the Middle East as we were learning about the region in social science. He had been a diplomat for several years and had learned Arabic quite well, which he demonstrated by writing some of our names in Arabic characters. I remember being mesmerized by this and thinking it was nothing short of a miracle that a person could learn a completely different language – especially a language written with a completely different alphabet, like this man did. did.
The nature of linguistic communication between human beings is evidenced in the readings of this great feast of Pentecost.
In the first reading, the disciples were gathered in one place, presumably referring to Jerusalem, where Christ told them to wait for the sending of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1: 4). After experiencing the breath of the wind and the descent of the tongues of fire, which are two important symbols of the divine presence in the Old Testament, the disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit and are miraculously given the ability to communicate in various languages for him. good to proclaim the Gospel.
The breadth and variety of these languages is evident from the words of travelers who view them, and it underscores how wonderful this miraculous sign was.
They define themselves as coming from distant places which include the most distant extremes of the known world, in the east (eg Parthia, Elam) and west (eg Rome, Libya), north (Phrygia, Cappadocia) and south (eg Egypt, Libya). Additionally, some of them include mysterious travelers who were continually on the move as sailors and nomads (e.g. Cretans and Arabs). All of these extremely different people were present to witness the miraculous appearance of the Holy Spirit of God empowering the disciples to speak their languages. Above all, it demonstrates God’s providential leadership in human affairs; God had arranged for all these diverse people to be gathered in one place in order to facilitate the spread of the gospel by providing many witnesses of his benevolent love and power.
In short, even before the disciples went out to preach to all the nations, God made all the nations to listen to the disciples.
As remarkable as these miraculous works of the Holy Spirit are, it is also important to recognize the vital role He plays in the daily life of all believers. Paul emphasizes this in the second reading, when he writes that “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except through the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12: 3). Although subsequent generations of believers may desire to witness divine miracles similar to the event of Pentecost, Paul specifies that they experience the full power of the Spirit whenever one of them confesses Jesus as Lord. .
In addition to this, Jesus Christ, by bestowing the power of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, enabled them and their successors to do something with the most remarkable language of all: forgive sins.
In a way, the gift of the Holy Spirit of Christ charges the apostles to act in the name of God by dispensing his mercy through the sacrament of penance, a reality which continues to be a source of blessing for the Church. . The ability of a priest to absolve sins is, in fact, another way for believers to continue to experience the power of the Holy Spirit at work every day, and it is more powerful than any demonstration. of miraculous linguistic ability.
Dominican Father Jordan Schmidt
is an instructor in the sacred
Writing to the
Pontifical Faculty of the
Immaculate Conception at
Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC