Keep My Words
May 19th, 2013 (see other dates)
PENTECOST SUNDAY solemnity
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Wind and fire are two of the most powerful forces of nature. What are some of the destructive effects of wind? of fire? Now think of the more positive effects of wind and fire. Can you name some of them?
When we receive the Holy Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation, we are opening ourselves to a powerful force. The Spirit is a mighty wind that blows new life into us. The Spirit is fire that destroys anything that keeps us from God. How is the Spirit "wind and fire" in your life? Ask the Spirit to open you to his power.
The Spirit, as we read today, can also break down barriers between people. How can you celebrate Pentecost by breaking down a barrier between you and someone else?a barrier caused by misunderstanding in some way?
Reading 1 Acts 2:1-11
Reading 1 ReflectionToday we celebrate the day when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples of Jesus. They were "filled with the Holy Spirit" and never again would be content to keep their faith to themselves. Now they were all fired up by the Spirit to share the Good News with everyone. Down came the barriers of fear. Down came the language barrier! All the pilgrims gathered in Jerusalem from many nations could instantly understand the disciples. And they, too, were filled with the powerful Spirit of God.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2What do you think of when you hear the word "different?" In this reading, Saint Paul assures us that differences in the Christian community are given "for some benefit."
We all need one another. Can you give some examples of "different gifts" among members of your family? your class at school? your religion group? your parish members and ministers? Each one of us is unique. How are you different in your gifts and talents? How do you use them for the benefit of all?
You might like to take time to thank the Holy Spirit for the different gifts among you. Be specific. For example:
"For Emily's sense of humor, we thank you, Holy Spirit."
"For Brian's eagerness to help others, we thank you, Holy Spirit."
"For Sal's ideas on better ways to do things, we thank you, Holy Spirit."
Sometimes others can name our gifts better than we can. Take turns being "in the Spirit spotlight." When one is in the spotlight, the others name the gifts they see in that person (kind, forgiving, intelligent, peaceful, hardworking, friendly to others, etc.) As they do, the one in the spotlight (or a recording secretary) writes down what is said. The one in the spotlight keeps this list in a special place at home. End with a prayer that we will be open to the Spirit in using our gifts for the good of all.
Reading 2 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
Reading 2 ReflectionPaul's letter today gives us two "proofs" that show we are cooperating with the Holy Spirit. First, we as a community can truly say, "Jesus is Lord." Second, each of us uses his or her gifts for the good of the community. We pull together to help bring about the reign of God among all people.
Discussion Questions for GospelPeace and forgiveness are gifts from Jesus in the Holy Spirit. Do you need to be a more peaceful and forgiving person?
Forgiveness is not "forgiving and forgetting." It does not deny that a wrong or a hurt took place. When we hurt someone, the bridge between us falls down. Our bond with that person is broken. When we forgive someone, or are forgiven, we allow the Holy Spirit to rebuild the bridge between us, even stronger than before. Because we are limited and human, we may not feel this all at once. But forgiveness is part of God's love. When we forgive, we bring God's love into our lives and into the lives of those who have hurt us. We can cross the bridge to meet again. We may still remember being hurt, but we can recall it with thanksgiving. We can thank God for the new and stronger bridge. Are there any broken bridges in your life? What might be a first step to the Spirit's gift of rebuilding and repair? How could you ask the Holy Spirit for help?
Gospel ReflectionOnce again we are reliving Easter night with Jesus and the disciples. He breathes on them, communicating the gift of the Holy Spirit. They gladly receive Jesus' Spirit and his ministry of forgiving sins. At Pentecost the Spirit will send them forth as living signs that Jesus has overcome sin and death.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
Let Your Light ShineOn the feast of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fills the apostles with many gifts enabling them to share the good news of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Tell the children that the Holy Spirit fills us with many gifts as well. Make a class book to symbolize this. Provide each child with a picture of a candle. Have them write or draw one of their gifts on the flame of the candle. Bind these together to make a class book.
I'm Going to Let It ShineGather the children in a circle. Have each child share one of his/her gifts with the class. After each child shares his/her gift, sing the refrain to This Little Light of Mine.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
Be Bold in FaithWhat a difference the Holy Spirit makes! At Pentecost, the fearful apostles broke out of their shells and began to speak boldly. They enthusiastically told others about the marvels God had done in their lives and in the world. Celebrate this Pentecost by making your own bold faith statements. Record them here.
Note: Before responding, take time to reflect on God's action in your life. Talk together about the things you really believe as Catholics?faith that makes a difference in the way you try to live. You may want to gather in small groups to formulate these statements. Then join in a large group again. Share your statements. After each statement, the whole group can acclaim it by saying, "Amen! Alleluia!"
Close with this prayer: Come, Holy Spirit! Make your fire glow in us! Amen! Alleluia!
Looking Ahead to the Season of Ordinary TimeAs the Easter season ends, we look forward to the second part of Ordinary Time. Remember that during Ordinary Time we celebrate everything that Jesus has done for us. You will not see the green vestments of Ordinary Time right away, except at Mass during the week. This is because the next two Sundays are special feasts: Trinity Sunday and the Body and Blood of Christ.
The second part of Ordinary Time will last many weeks until the feast of Christ the King at the end of November. Through the Sundays of summer and fall, this season reminds us how we can grow as stronger followers of Jesus. How do you want to grow as a person of prayer and as a person of service? What can you do?
How can you help others to grow in faith?
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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