Gospel Reflection May 19 – Deacon Stephen Petrill

Sunday, May 19

Pentecost Sunday

John 15:26-27; 16:12-15


Jesus said to his disciples:

“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,

the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father,

he will testify to me.

And you also testify,

because you have been with me from the beginning.

“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.

But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,

he will guide you to all truth.

He will not speak on his own,

but he will speak what he hears,

and will declare to you the things that are coming.

He will glorify me,

because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.

Everything that the Father has is mine;

for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine

and declare it to you.”

Gospel Reflection:

This weekend, we celebrate Pentecost, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the Church, and the beginning of the Church’s mission to proclaim the Gospel to the world. It is one of the most important solemnities in the Church. As a result, there are different Gospels this weekend; one at the Vigil (John 7:37-39) and two options for Sunday (John 20:19-23 or John 15:26-27; 16:12-15). These are accompanied by different readings and multiple reading options. They will not all be proclaimed at the Mass you attend this weekend, but together the Church offers an invitation to reflect more deeply on the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

For example, in John 15:26-27; 16:12-15, we witness deep intimacy among the persons of the Trinity. The Son will send the Holy Spirit from the Father. The Spirit will testify to the Son. The Spirit will take everything from the Son, and everything Father has is the Son’s. This passage speaks to the eternal union of the Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–God forever and ever. At the same time, we also see the distinctiveness of the persons of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is the Advocate, he who is called to one’s side (ad-vocatus in Latin). He is the Spirit of Truth, who will guide us to Truth.

The first and second readings for the Vigil and for the Sunday Mass offer many symbols of the Holy Spirit; including driving wind and tongues of fire. The readings speak of the different gifts of the Holy Spirit, how Holy Spirit inspires us, and how He draws us into union with God and with one another. The readings also describe the fruits of the Holy Spirit–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

The Holy Spirit may be difficult to grasp sometimes, like the wind. We can’t touch the Holy Spirit, but we can feel Him as we are propelled toward God’s will. The Holy Spirit inspires us to become and do far beyond our own human capacities, burning within us like a tongue of fire. We give thanks for the gifts the Holy Spirit gives us. As we cooperate with those gifts, we find our place in the world and God’s plan for each one of us. By doing so, the fruits of the Spirit draw forth. We overcome our human divisions to find love, understanding and unity. Taking our place in the mission of the Church we are inspired and led by the Holy Spirit to build up God’s kingdom on earth, until He comes again.

Brothers and sisters, let us pray to the Holy Spirit in a special way this weekend. May he inspire us and guide us to all truth.

Deacon Stephen Petrill