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Scripture Reflection - May 19, 2024

Pentecost Sunday

Acts 2:1-11 - 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 - John 20:19-23

Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York Scripture Reflection

Pentecost: Trust and Openness in the Spirit


In the Gospel of John 20:19-23, the disciples are found behind locked doors, overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty after the crucifixion of Jesus. This image of retreat and vulnerability is one that resonates deeply with the human condition, especially when confronted with life's trials and tribulations. Into this atmosphere of fear and isolation, Jesus enters, offering not judgment but peace. He breathes upon them the Holy Spirit, transforming their fear into a mission filled with hope and the mandate to forgive and reconcile. This scene, particularly resonant during Pentecost, offers a powerful paradigm for our own spiritual journey.


The disciples’ instinct to hide reflects our own responses to the adversities and uncertainties of life. Often, we retreat behind the locked doors of fear, doubt, and isolation, shielding ourselves from the risks and pains of the world. Yet, in these moments of self-imposed confinement, Christ comes to us, offering His peace and the transformative gift of the Holy Spirit. This encounter is not confined to history but is a perpetual invitation extended to every believer.


This Pentecost calls us to a deep reflection on trust in God, which is more than mere belief; it is an active opening of our hearts and lives to God’s will. This trust involves relinquishing our fears and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and empower us. The Holy Spirit, bestowed upon the disciples and us, is a force of peace, unity, and empowerment. It compels us to become agents of reconciliation, peace, and love in a world fraught with division and despair.


Moreover, the presence of the Holy Spirit urges us toward service, particularly to our sisters and brothers who suffer because of injustice, war, genocide, climate chaos, and governments who serve only the wealthy. Trusting in God and opening ourselves to the Holy Spirit should lead us to extend ourselves to the marginalized, the oppressed, the suffering, and to correct the systems that favor some over the many. The Spirit's movement in our lives is not just about internal transformation but also about external action. It calls us to embody the compassion of Christ, who healed the sick, comforted the distressed, uplifted the downtrodden, and confronted corrupt power wherever it was found.


In embracing the Holy Spirit, we are called not only to transform our fears into opportunities for growth and witness but also to serve as a tangible expression of our faith. This service is a direct response to the suffering around us, an embodiment of the love, peace, and justice that Christ offers. It is consistent and meaningful service that we live out the critical mission entrusted to us, making the kingdom of God visible in the here and now.


May this Pentecost renew in us the courage to step into the unknown, trusting that God's Spirit will not only lead us but also use us as instruments of His healing and hope. Let us embrace the peace of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, and commit ourselves to the service of those in need, thereby transforming our lives and, through us, the world around us.


I invite you to ask yourself this question as you draw your day to a close:


How do I actively demonstrate trust in God and openness to the Holy Spirit

in my daily life, especially in moments of fear or uncertainty?


How does my trust in God express itself as service and working for justice in our world?

Sr. Didi Madden, OP


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