May 31, 2020 Cycle A
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E., Chaplain
Saint John Paul II National Shrine
Sunday Reading Meditations
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Pentecost, commemorating that unique moment when the Holy Spirit descended upon those gathered in the Upper Room: “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4).
We have all been afflicted by the pain of isolation lately. God created us for communion with him, among ourselves, and with all things. Hell is eternal isolation.
The last three months have shown us how much we need contact with other people. The Pentecost is the antithesis of isolation.
Those in the Upper Room were all praying together: “The disciples devoted themselves with one accord to prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus” (Acts 1:14). After the descent of the Holy Spirit, the disciples came out of the room, gathering in a crowd of people from different parts of the world: “There were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd” (Acts 2:5–6).
Our hearts hunger for communion and thirst for the Holy Spirit, even if we do not realize it. Quarantine only intensifies our longing for the grace of the Holy Spirit. In today’s second reading, Saint Paul says: “We were all given to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13). In the Gospel according to John, Jesus says: “‘Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says: ‘Rivers of living water will flow from within him.’ He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive” (Jn 7:37–39).
The Holy Spirit penetrates all isolation and introduces us into the communion of the being. He creates a body in which we belong to each other because we all belong to the Father. In today’s second reading, Saint Paul says: “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons” (1 Cor 12:13).
“The Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world” (Wis 1:7). Today we pray especially for the grace of being filled with the Holy Spirit, who gives himself to everyone but only fills the hearts of those who invite him. The Holy Spirit does not coerce anyone and respects our infinite freedom. In order for us to receive the Holy Spirit as a guest into our souls, we need to desire him and invite him to come to us.
Today’s Gospel says: “Jesus breathed on them and said to them, ‘receive the Holy Spirit’” (Jn 19:22). May Jesus breathe the gift of the Spirit on us today, as he did with the apostles.
May the divine light of the Holy Spirit shine within our hearts. May he come to heal our wounds and renew our strength. May he conquer our isolation and help us enter into communion with God and with all things. May the emptiness of our hearts be filled with the fullness of the life of the Spirit.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Amen.