May28, 2023: Pentecost Sunday
Catholic Social Teaching: Care for Creation
With Memorial Day on the calendar, in addition to the human toll of war, let us address the ecological cost of war:
First Reading: Acts 2:1-11
Psalm: 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
Second Reading: 1st Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
Gospel: John 20:19-23
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ’s faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may “bear much fruit. (737) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to Pentecost Sunday, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The Old Testament presents God as the omnipotent Creator (cf. Gen 2:2; Job 38-41; Ps 104; Ps 147) who fashions man in his image and invites him to work the soil (cf. Gen 2:5-6), and cultivate and care for the garden of Eden in which he has placed him (cf. Gen 2:15). To the first human couple God entrusts the task of subduing the earth and exercising dominion over every living creature (cf. Gen 1:28). The dominion exercised by man over other living creatures, however, is not to be despotic or reckless; on the contrary he is to “cultivate and care for” (Gen 2:15) the goods created by God. These goods were not created by man, but have been received by him as a precious gift that the Creator has placed under his responsibility. Cultivating the earth means not abandoning it to itself; exercising dominion over it means taking care of it, as a wise king cares for his people and a shepherd his sheep.
In the Creator’s plan, created realities, which are good in themselves, exist for man’s use. The wonder of the mystery of man’s grandeur makes the psalmist exclaim: “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him little less than god, and crown him with glory and honour. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet” (Ps 8:5-7). (255)
The relationship of man with the world is a constitutive part of his human identity. This relationship is in turn the result of another still deeper relationship between man and God. The Lord has made the human person to be a partner with him in dialogue. Only in dialogue with God does the human being find his truth, from which he draws inspiration and norms to make plans for the future of the world, which is the garden that God has given him to keep and till (cf. Gen 2: 15). Not even sin could remove this duty, although it weighed down this exalted work with pain and suffering (cf. Gen 3:17-19).
Creation is always an object of praise in Israel’s prayer: “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all” (Ps 104:24). Salvation is perceived as a new creation that re-establishes that harmony and potential for growth that sin had compromised: “I create new heavens and a new earth” (Is 65:17) — says the Lord — in which “the wilderness becomes a fruitful field … and righteousness [will] abide in the fruitful field … My people will abide in a peaceful habitation” (Is 32:1518). (452)
John 20: 19, 21, 26
The promise of peace that runs through the entire Old Testament finds its fulfilment in the very person of Jesus. Peace, in fact, is the messianic attribute par excellence, in which all other beneficial effects of salvation are included. The Hebrew word “shalom” expresses this fullness of meaning in its etymological sense of “completeness” (cf. Is 9:5ff; Mic 5:1-4). The kingdom of the Messiah is precisely the kingdom of peace (cf. Job 25:2; Ps 29:11; 37:11; 72:3,7; 85:9,11; 119:165; 125:5, 128:6; 147:14; Song 8:10; Is 26:3,12; 32:17f.; 52:7; 54:10; 57:19; 60:17; 66:12; Hag 2:9; Zech 9:10; et al.). Jesus “is our peace” (Eph 2:14). He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility among people, reconciling them with God (cf. Eph 2:14-16). This is the very effective simplicity with which Saint Paul indicates the radical motivation spurring Christians to undertake a life and a mission of peace.
On the eve of his death, Jesus speaks of his loving relation with the Father and the unifying power that this love bestows upon his disciples. It is a farewell discourse which reveals the profound meaning of his life and can be considered a summary of all his teaching. The gift of peace is the seal on his spiritual testament: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). The words of the Risen Lord will not be any different; every time that he meets his disciples they receive from him the greeting and gift of peace: “Peace be with you” (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26). (491)
Professionals in the field of media are not the only people with ethical duties. Those who make use of the media also have obligations. Media operators who try to meet their responsibilities deserve audiences who are aware of their own responsibilities. The first duty of media users is to be discerning and selective. Parents, families and the Church have precise responsibilities they cannot renounce. For those who work, in various capacities, in the area of social communications, the warning of St. Paul rings out loud and clear: “Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another … Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:25, 29). Serving the human person through the building up of a human community based on solidarity, justice and love, and spreading the truth about human life and its final fulfilment in God remain at the heart of ethics in the media. In the light of faith, human communication can be seen as a journey from Babel to Pentecost, or rather, as the personal and social commitment to overcome the collapse of communication (cf. Gen 11:4-8), opening people to the gift of tongues (cf. Acts 2:5-11), to communication as restored by the power of the Spirit sent by the Son. (562)
The Lord Jesus is the prototype and foundation of the new humanity. In him, the true “likeness of God” (2 Cor 4:4), man — who is created in the image of God — finds his fulfilment. In the definitive witness of love that God has made manifest in the cross of Christ, all the barriers of enmity have already been torn down (cf. Eph 2:12-18), and for those who live a new life in Christ, racial and cultural differences are no longer causes of division (cf. Rom 10:12; Gal 3:26-28; Col 3:11).
Thanks to the Spirit, the Church is aware of the divine plan of unity that involves the entire human race (cf. Acts 17:26), a plan destined to reunite in the mystery of salvation wrought under the saving Lordship of Christ (cf. Eph 1:8-10) all of created reality, which is fragmented and scattered. From the day of Pentecost, when the Resurrection is announced to diverse peoples, each of whom understand it in their own language (cf. Acts 2:6), the Church fulfils her mission of restoring and bearing witness to the unity lost at Babel. Due to this ecclesial ministry, the human family is called to rediscover its unity and recognize the richness of its differences, in order to attain “full unity in Christ”. (431)
1st Corinthians 12:13
“God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34; cf. Rom 2:11; Gal 2:6; Eph 6:9), since all people have the same dignity as creatures made in his image and likeness. The Incarnation of the Son of God shows the equality of all people with regard to dignity: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28; cf. Rom 10:12; 1 Cor 12:13, Col 3:11).
Since something of the glory of God shines on the face of every person, the dignity of every person before God is the basis of the dignity of man before other men. Moreover, this is the ultimate foundation of the radical equality and brotherhood among all people, regardless of their race, nation, sex, origin, culture, or class. (144)
For complete text visit: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html
If we believe in the Trinity, we believe in inclusion. For the coming of the Holy Spirit was the undoing of the disarray in Babel. A name meaning confusion and a situation where no one heard others in their midst. The Holy Spirit imparted the ability for everyone to hear and become one in community. A Spirit poured, not drizzled into our hearts, giving and animating gifts in our lives. So no one struts with prideful arrogance of their personal achievement or hunkers down in intense contemplation, when they realize they are recipients of Divine grace to be manifest for organic unity. The dynamics of mission to open up to call of inclusion of a wider group of people and not live in fear of others. Where we are like Jesus, living for the sake of the world, and not personal priorities and selfish interests. As bearers of the Spirit to bring people to faith by making God present in the world. Living as the Body of Christ, not as portrayed in antiquity as maintaining the status quo, where everyone knew their static position, but relishing the diversity hinged in interdependence and unity affirming all in the community. No elitism, but the common denominator of baptism allowing all to drink of the One Spirit.
Pentecost, meaning fifty, one of the three traditional Jewish pilgrim feasts, occurring fifty days after Passover. Originally celebrating the grain harvest, it transitioned to celebrating the giving of the law to Moses on Mt Sinai. God’s privileged communication to the chosen people. Numerous correlations exist between that encounter and the coming of the Holy Spirit implemented by the new Moses, Jesus. Twelve tribes of Israel and twelve Apostoles, the whole mountain groaned and the house was struck by noise and a driving wind, the powerful presence of God on the mountain and tongues of fire. A fulfillment of John the Baptist’s prophecy that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. A giving of the Spirit to impart a fresh expression of the Word. Today, a Spirt still vibrant with a freshness to the challenges and opportunities to be the presence of God in the world as we strive for unity and inclusion. As Jesus continues to commission His disciples, witnessing faith by the Spirit’s gifts we have been given to be instruments of forgiveness and reconciliation. An expression articulated in John’s gospel historical texts to be not for the few apostles or ordained today, but all disciples where the sins we forgive are forgiven and those retain are retained. The reality if we hold on to grudges, resentments and fail to forgive, we stifle the peace Jesus desires us to experience. The peace of the Crucified and Risen One that can go through walls and locked doors. For like Paul reminded the arrogancy of the Corinthians, the gifts of the Spirit came from the same source and to trivialize the gifts of others devalues the work of the Spirit.
The original text’s connotation defines the day the Holy Spirt came as the turning point of highest importance, to separate from the past and become the Church where everyone present understood the mighty acts of God. A reminder today why we cannot be silent, as we experience ourselves and see others mimicked as not fully part of the Body of Christ and our gifts dismissed to serve the Church. A reminder that every day the Holy Spirit gives us each gifts we need to be the presence of God in the world and offering the peace we have been given. God sent the Spirit to renew the face of the earth and let us be glad in the Lord as the Holy Spirit fills the hearts of the faithful and kindles in them the fire of His love, so we live as co-creators using the gifts we have been given by the Holy Spirit.
Individual Reflection: 1st Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
How can you support all the spiritual gifts at your parish and the broader Church ?
Family Reflection: John 20:19-23
As a family, each day pray the Prayer to the Holy Spirit to acknowledge, be open to the Holy Spirit’s gifts manifest in each family members’ life and use the gifts:
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth.
Lord, by the light of the Holy Spirit
you have taught the hearts of your faithful.
In the same Spirit
help us to relish what is right
and always rejoice in your consolation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Prayer: Pentecost Sunday Sequence
Come, Holy Spirit, come.
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine.
Come, Father of the poor.
Come, source of all our store.
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill.
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end.
Blogs to Visit:
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Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
Social Ministry Resources Engaging Parishes: Monthly and liturgical seasons resources for use with parish websites, bulletins and newsletters
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born May 28, 2023 Let the Spirit cruise !The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.