"Breaking Open the Word" :
James Cavanagh is the director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-Area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. His weekly column, "Breaking Open the Word," is syndicated by the Denver Catholic Register, official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver. Click here to visit the Office of Evangelization & Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Denver.
June 12: Pentecost Sunday
In the first creation, God’s Spirit “moved over the face of the waters.” In the new creation, God’s Spirit “filled the entire house” where the disciples were. In the first creation, God breathed into Adam the breath of life “and Adam became a living being” (Gn 2:7).
In the new creation, the Holy Spirit filled the disciples with supernatural life, enabling them to proclaim the Gospel boldly. In the first creation, language was confused because of man’s rebellion against God (Gn 9).
In the new creation, the effects of Babel are reversed. Filled with the Holy Spirit, the apostles spoke with one voice so that people from every nation, no matter what their language, could hear the same message.
In the second reading, Paul stresses the unity of the Church, which he describes as a single body. Notice the Trinitarian structure: There is “one Spirit … one Lord … one God.” Unity is an essential mark of the Church.
Within this unity, there are a variety of gifts that enriches the entire body of Christ. In St. John’s Gospel, the Spirit was first given to the apostles on Easter day. In the New Testament, there is no single outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Rather, it is a manifestation of the risen Christ to the Church.
As in the first reading, the gift of the Spirit is connected to mission. In this week’s Gospel, the apostles are commissioned to proclaim the gospel of forgiveness and reconciliation so that communion with God might be restored.
Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Pope Benedict XVI:
James Cavanagh is director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. Cavanagh’s column is distributed by the Denver Catholic Register.
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