The Pentecost Sunday
Mass During the Day
May 23, 2021 Cycle B
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.B., Chaplain,
Saint John Paul II National Shrine,  Washington, D.C.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

The Pentecost was a great surprise to the apostles. While they were  praying in the Cenacle, suddenly a powerful wind shook the walls. Tongues of fire filled their hearts. “O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!” (Ps 104:1).

“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4). We gather today to ask the Holy Spirit to come over us as he came over the apostles on that first Pentecost. We ask him to come to “heal our wounds, our strength renew” (Sequence).

This week, we  celebrate the feast day of Saint Philip Neri, whose experience of the Holy Spirit was most profound: “On the vigil of Pentecost in 1544, while in fervent prayer to the Holy Spirit, Philip was overcome by the force of the Spirit, and he saw a ball of fire enter through his mouth and lodge in his heart. The intensity of this flame of God’s love caused him to cry out, ‘Enough, Lord, enough! I cannot take any more.’ […] For the rest of his life, a warmth radiated from Philip’s heart, so strong that he was known to go out with his cassock unbuttoned in the middle of winter. Troubled souls were calmed just by drawing near to Philip’s heart and experiencing in his warmth the fire of divine love. He also experienced palpitations so violent that his whole body shook, and they affected the people and objects around him. Later, as a priest, he struggled to contain this shaking in order to celebrate Mass and to preach. After Philip’s death, an examination revealed the extent of the physical effects of his Pentecost experience: permanently broken ribs, making room for the beating of a greatly expanded heart.”

Every time the Holy Spirit visits us is a new beginning: “You renew the face of the earth.” With the Holy Spirit, everything is always new! Everything is glorious!

The Holy Spirit shatters all our false images of God, the world and  ourselves.

He shatters all limits and  the impossible becomes possible! Nothing is impossible for God!

The Holy Spirit opens new and unimaginable horizons before us. He is infinite creativity!

“Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them” (Acts 2:3). The Holy Spirit descends on each one of us. However, we need to desire him and ask him to come. “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit” (1 Cor 12:7). The gift of the Spirit is fruitful. As Saint Paul says, “[…] the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22–23). As we receive the Holy Spirit, we each receive a mission in order to build up the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit compels us to serve God and neighbor.

“And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were” (Act 2:2). The Holy Spirit leads us where we never imagined we could go! As Jesus says: “The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (Jn 3:8)

Come Holy Spirit, come! May the Holy Spirit fill the places where we dwell. May our inmost beings be filled by the grace of the Spirit! May the Holy Spirit kindle in our hearts the fire of God’s love! May the Holy Spirit give us never-ending joys! May the Pentecost of 2021 be a new beginning for each one of us! Come Holy Spirit, come through Mary!  Amen.  Alleluia!