June 12th, 2011 (see other dates)
Pentecost Sunday (Solemnity)
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Sometimes our expectations get in the way of the Spirit. The prophet Elijah, in the Old Testament, was expecting the Spirit to be loud, like thunder. Instead, the Spirit came to him as a whisper of God's love and care. Sometimes we expect something to happen, and then it doesn't, and we are disappointed. It is good then to remember an old spiritual saying, "When God closes a door, he opens a window." Have you ever experienced this? How can we find the window to the Holy Spirit in times of disappointment? How can you share this faith with others and encourage them in times of disappointment?
Reading 1 Acts 2:1-11
Reading 1 ReflectionWhen the Baptism of Jesus is described in the gospel, the Holy Spirit is pictured as a dove. But if the disciples in the upper room were expecting Jesus' promised Spirit to come as a dove, they had a big surprise in store! On that first Pentecost, the Spirit came as a powerful wind that blew all the disciples' fears out the window. The Spirit came as glowing tongues of fire that "lit a fire" in their hearts. Filled with the Holy Spirit, the disciples went out to speak of God's mighty deeds.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Have you ever heard the legend of Our Lady's juggler? Once a young man joined a monastery. Before he decided to give his life to God's service in the monastery, he had been a juggler. It was the custom in that monastery to celebrate one of the great feasts of Our Lady by giving her a gift of some kind. The monk who could write composed a poem. The artist monk painted a beautiful picture. The monk who gardened arranged a bouquet. The new monk did not know what he could do. He wasn't good at anything, except juggling. He was ashamed to give this gift?what good was juggling, after all? But very early on the day of Our Lady's feast, while it was still dark, he quietly borrowed three oranges from the kitchen. Then he crept into the chapel. "Forgive me, Mary," he said. "I do not have much, but what I have, I give you." And he began to juggle the oranges. He threw them up, around, behind his back, and never missed catching them once! Juggling always made him happy, and he hoped that Our Lady was happy, too. The abbot, the head of the monastery, happened to be praying in the chapel. He watched the young monk as he juggled, and when he had finished, the abbot said to him, "Little Brother, thank you for your gift. You have brought joy to Our Lady and to this house. Be ready to juggle for everyone at the feast today."
How did the newest monk build up the body of Christ? What gift do you have? How does it build up the body of Christ? How can it help your family, your school, or your parish? If you do not know, perhaps the other members of the body (your group members) will help you discover ways to use your gift!
Reading 2 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
Reading 2 ReflectionWhat is the work of the Holy Spirit? Paul's letter explains it clearly and beautifully. The Spirit gives us a great variety of gifts and enables us to use them for one united purpose.
These gifts are given to each person. No one is left out. Everyone has something to contribute. Each one of us can help build up the body of Christ into which we have been baptized.
Discussion Questions for GospelMission is a very important word. We sometimes connect this word to working in foreign countries, but that is not all it means. The sisters in some religious communities refer to their places of work as "going on their mission." The Latin ending of the Mass was, "Ite, missa est"?"Go, you are sent." Mission and Mass have the same Latin root of missa. Now we say, "Go in peace to love and serve the Lord." Loving and serving is what mission, being sent by Jesus, is all about.
And we each have a mission in life. We are each sent by Jesus to do loving service right where we are. What do you believe Jesus is sending you to do in this time of your life?
You might like to put it into words. "Jesus sends me forth to ______________________."
How can you keep this sense of mission alive in you each day?
Gospel John 20:19-23
Gospel ReflectionJohn's Gospel pictures Jesus breathing the gift of his Spirit on the disciples. It is Easter night and they are hiding behind locked doors out of fear of their enemies. Jesus calms them with his peace. He gives them the power to give peace to others by forgiving their sins. "As the Father has sent me, so I send you," Jesus says.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Different Gifts But the Same SpiritAsk the children to think a moment about the gifts they have from God. (Suggestion: a cheerful smile, a gift for helping others, a gift for making others laugh, a gift for helping younger brothers and sisters, a gift for singing or dancing or reading or writing poems, etc.) In the second reading for today, we learn that all these different gifts come from God.
Distribute the reproducible master. Explain that the flower reminds us that as we use God's gifts in the right way, we grow in God's love. Instruct each child to dip (his or her) thumb on an inkpad or in paint, and make a thumbprint on each petal of the flower. When all the children have finished, pray the prayer together. Invite the children to take the prayer poster home and put it in a special place. Each time they see the poster, they can thank the Holy Spirit for the gifts he has given them.
Pentecost WishesHelp the children make Pentecost greeting cards to send to the home bound of your parish. On the cards the children can write the following greeting or make up their own: May the Holy Spirit bring you peace and love today. Ask the children to decorate the cards with symbols of the Holy Spirit, a dove or flame.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Go Where I Send TheeAn old Gospel folk hymn begins, "Children, go where I send thee!" As Christians and Catholics, we know we are not sent out alone into the world. We are sent with one another. As a group, think of ways you can use your gifts to benefit others. Is there a childcare center that could use your help? Maybe you could put on a puppet show with your own handmade puppets! Would a senior citizens' residence or group appreciate your visit? Ask your parents to taech you some "golden oldie" songs to sing for and with them. Prepare song sheets in LARGE TYPE. Does a vacant lot need a spring cleaning? Whatever you choose to do, do it together as a community.
My Mission in LifeJohn Henry Newman was a priest and a cardinal. He was an Anglican priest who converted to Catholicism, and was a well-known writer and preacher. This is what he wrote about our mission in life. You might like to copy this prayer on a card and pray it often. On the back of the card, make up your own prayer to know the best way for you to love and serve the Lord.
A Meditation by Cardinal Newman
I have a place in God's counsels, in God's world,
which no one else has;
whether I be rich or poor,
despised or esteemed by man,
God knows me and calls me by my name.
God has created me to do him some definite service;
He has committed some work to me
that he has not committed to another.
I have my mission?
I never may know it in this life,
but I shall be told it in the next. . . .
I am a link in a chain,
a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught.
I shall do good, I shall do his work;
I shall be an angel of peace,
a preacher of truth in my own place,
while not intending it,
if I do but keep his commandments
and serve him in my calling.
Therefore I will trust him.
Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve him;
in perplexity, my perplexity may serve him;
if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve him. . . .
God does nothing in vain. . . .
He may take away my friends,
he may throw me among strangers,
he may make me feel desolate,
make my spirits sink,
hide the future from me?still he knows what
he is about.
(from Meditations on Christian Doctrine by John Henry Cardinal Newman)
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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