“Who Am I and What Am I Doing Here?” ~ Pentecost and Remembrance of Our Identity (Gospel Reflection)
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One of the best ways to enrich your experience at Sunday Mass is to pray the Mass Readings personally and to meditate on a Gospel reflection.
A great way of doing this is using the technique of Lectio Divina, a powerful method which we explain here. The following is this Sunday’s Gospel reading, along with a reflection that is especially aimed at youth.
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We hope that it serves you in your personal prayer and that it serves as a resource that you can share with your apostolate.
Gospel of Pentecost Sunday (John 20: 19-23)
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” The Gospel of the Lord
Meditation for the Solemnity of Pentecost
Love ceases there, where communication breaks down completely, because it was only an illusion to begin with. ~ Jaspers
Once upon a time there were two little pieces of blue glass stuck to a wall. They were tired of being glued there, in that uncomfortable and humid place. Continually complaining, one to the other, they reached a decision. They would unstick themselves from the wall and go down to the floor. Someone would surely find them there and give them a better purpose.
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Thus, they wiggled free and were able to slide down to the cool floor. The next day, the sacristan was sweeping zealously and, not seeing them there, tossed them in the trash bin. But, as he looked up for his customary morning prayer, he realized that in the beautiful mosaic of Jesus he was so familiar with, the two blue eyes were missing.
When we are tired or when we are passing through trying times, we often ask ourselves: what am I doing here? Why am I stuck in this relationship?
Perhaps we feel unappreciated or we are no longer able to see how we fit or, even worse, we find no meaning in our lives. We feel like a tiny piece of glass, obligated to remain stuck to a wall, and we are unable to see our beauty or what we have to offer to those around us.
We often forget who it was that put us where we are, who asked us to be there, perhaps thinking that it was all just chance, or perhaps not thinking much at all.
In a certain sense, Pentecost is the feast in which we rediscover the meaning of our lives. The Spirit brings us clarity. Those depressing questions only appear in moments of confusion. These are times when we want to give up on everything, like the two blue pieces of glass that want to pull themselves off the wall by force without having any notion of what else they might stick themselves to.
As at Babel, confusion appears when we want to stand out.
Seeking superiority means having a distorted idea of one’s self. When we no longer see our own limits and we no longer recognize what we do have to offer, we can no longer be happy with what we are and so we strive to stand out.
He who continually tries to win – to beat others, in his relationships, even with his spouse, but also with God – is a person who is insecure, who is afraid to end up alone, and so he tries to raise himself up over others falsely.
He who is afraid of not being accepted for what he is seeks to make himself the master of others so that he can guarantee that he is accepted through his power.
The Spirit helps the disciples rediscover the meaning of their path.
He helps them remember where they come from.
The crack of lightning is the same jolt that was unleashed when God gave the law to Moses on Mount Sinai. It is the thunder in which God spoke when He forged the covenant with His people, saying to Israel: I am your God and you are my people.
The breath of the Holy Spirit is the same breath that hovers over the waters during creation. The Spirit thus reminds us of the origin and the meaning of our lives. Whenever we live, God has made an alliance with us; He reaches out to us and He does not leave us. This is the Good News that the Spirit comes to remind us of.
It is confusion that distorts and confounds these words.
The confusion confounds us not only in our relationship with God, but in all of our human relationships. That is why the Holy Spirit comes to bend our rigid thoughts, our dark obsessions, and our closed-mindedness. The Spirit comes to warm our cold-heartedness, to shake off our harsh feelings, and to overcome the fear to love again. The Spirit comes to straighten our distorted convictions, out perverse actions, and to save us from the many paths the lead to death.
The Spirit comes to open the doors of the Cenacle that, until now, had remain closed.
It is a fitting image because, we too, when we are upset and disappointed, close ourselves off to others and are without peace. The Spirit comes to give us back that peace that comes only when we forgive. Only when we forgive can we open our hearts again and let go of our bitterness. Only then can we go back to being what we were created to be.
The Spirit reminds us who we are.
If we were those two little pieces of blue glass, the Spirit would probably remind us of our beauty, the joy we can give to others, and the tenderness with which we were shaped.
Many times we are sad because we forget the richness that we can bring to others. Perhaps we feel a little constrained, there stuck on the wall, but the person that can thank God, though seeing himself as apparently useless, will receive a true happiness.
Questions for Personal Meditation:
- Are you a reason for others to thank God?
- Are you trying to unstick yourself from any walls?