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    St. Mary's Parish
    211 Avenue O South
    Saskatoon, SK
    S7M 2R6

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Pentecost Sunday

Pentecost & The Gift of the Holy Spirit

by Fr. Tim Uniac, C.R.

The Book of Acts today describes the day of Pentecost. Pentecost occurs fifty days after Passover, seven weeks, thus the reason it is sometimes called the Feast of Weeks. For the Jewish people, Pentecost is a feast commemorating the giving of the covenant to Israel on Mount Sinai, when Israel is clearly identified as God’s own people. This great Jewish feast draws devout Jews on pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem, which explains why there are so many people in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, the disciples included. The disciples have remained in Jerusalem, in obedience to Jesus, to await the coming of the Holy Spirit when the promise of Jesus will be fulfilled, a renewed covenant with God. This renewed covenant will now expand the missionary activity of the disciples to include those on the extremes, “Parthians, Medes, Elamites …” (2:9), ultimately to include even the Gentiles (28:28).

Paul is writing to the people of Corinth today, from Ephesus, in response to a delegation from Corinth who came to him to report some problems in the Corinth community (the misuse of spiritual gifts). The actual problems cited to Paul are listed in 1 Cor. 12:8 (a verse omitted from today’s reading). The problems revolve around the use of “healing … miracles … prophecy … tongues… interpretation of tongues” (12:8). In response, Paul reminds the people of Corinth where these spiritual gifts come from (God) and why they are given (for the common good). Therefore, a gift not used for the common good is not from the Spirit and thus should not be allowed during worship. The unity of the entire body is of utmost importance (12:12-13).

It is wise to place today’s gospel into context in order to bring deeper and richer meaning to today’s text. It immediately follows the discovery by Mary Magdalene that the stone has been rolled away (20:1). Peter then runs to the tomb to find it empty (20:2-10), and then Mary Magdalene encounters the Risen Lord (20:11-18). Immediately following today’s scripture will be the story of the “doubting Thomas,” with the conclusion of the gospel coming one chapter later.

In today’s text it is Easter Sunday, it takes place in the city of Jerusalem in a locked room, and the Risen Lord appears (20:19). After extending peace to the disciples Jesus gives them a mission, he sends them out with the authority to forgive or retain sins – all with the assistance of the Holy Spirit which he breathes upon them (20:22-23). The mission of the disciples, following the resurrection, now begins!

05 – May 15, 2016 Bulletin


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