June 3, 2022

Pentecost Sunday / Msgr. Owen F. Campion

The Sunday Readings

  • Sunday, June 5, 2022
  • Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11
  • 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
  • John 14:15-16, 23b-26

Msgr. Owen CampionThis weekend the Church celebrates the feast of Pentecost. After Easter and Christmas, it is the most important feast of the liturgical year because of the momentous event that it commemorates, the miraculous coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.

The first reading for this weekend, from the Acts of the Apostles, recalls this event. Pentecost occurred in Jerusalem, where the Apostles had gathered after the Lord’s ascension.

In the first part of the reading, the identity of the Holy Spirit is clearly given. The Spirit is God and comes from God. To understand how clearly this identity is given, it is necessary to be familiar with the symbols for God used in the Old Testament.

First, a “strong, driving wind” blew (Acts 2:1). Ancient biblical writings associated great gusting winds with God. Secondly, fire appeared. Fire also often symbolized God in the Old Testament, as when Moses encountered God on Sinai.

These symbols revealed that the Holy Spirit is God. The Lord’s divine identity again also is affirmed, since Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come. Jesus and the Spirit, with the Father, are one.

The reading proceeds. After being empowered by the Spirit and prompted by the Spirit, the Apostles went into Jerusalem. As a result of Pentecost, they suddenly had the ability to speak in foreign languages. Importantly, they felt themselves compelled to speak for Christ.

In the city were many visitors who had come to celebrate the Jewish feast of Pentecost. They came from all parts of the Roman Empire. Each understood what the Apostles were saying. Each was touched by the announcement that God had accomplished marvels for all people, that he had provided salvation and eternal life through Christ.

For its second reading, the Church gives us a passage from St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians. Paul makes an important point. To truly believe that Jesus is Lord requires enlightenment and strength from the Holy Spirit. A genuine confession that Jesus is Lord is more than an intellectual statement. To be authentic, it must be heartfelt in the most profound sense.

St. Paul then goes on to give the basis of the theology that would result, in these times, in Pope Pius XII’s magnificent 1943 encyclical letter “Mystici Corporis” and in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, especially in its teachings on the Church.

In Christ, all the faithful are members of one body, bound to the Lord, but also bound to each other. No one is excluded from this body by any particular personal quality, such as gender or race.

The third reading is from St. John’s Gospel. The risen Lord appears to the Apostles. He tells them to be at peace. Then Jesus gives them the authority to forgive sins. This authorization comes directly from God to the Apostles.


Not too many days ago, the Church celebrated the Lord’s glorious ascension into heaven, but Jesus did not entirely exit the Earth at that time. His words and power remain. His love remains.

He lives, the Church expressly and joyfully tells us on this great feast, in the Church itself. The Apostles formed the Church. Their successors still preach the Lord’s words, bringing Jesus to us.

Thus, the Church carefully protects the Apostles’ teaching simply because it never wants to lose these teachings.

We are the Church, bonded with the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit. We’re gathered around the Apostles, as were the first Christians in Jerusalem mentioned in Acts. In Jesus is our security and a peace, a peace drawn from realizing that Jesus truly is the way, the truth and the life.

Through the Church, in God’s merciful love, Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit, the source of wisdom and strength. †

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