Receive the Holy Spirit

They Were All in One Place Together.

The first thing to notice is that when the Holy Spirit comes to the Apostles, He does not come to them individually. He only comes when they are “all together in one place,” in a group. They have been together since “the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews.” They are together when the Lord first appears to them, bringing His greeting of peace, and every time thereafter. Jesus prepares them as a group for his departure and return to the Father. Together they go with him to the mountain from which he ascends to His Father, and together they receive the Holy Spirit.

Are Not All These People Who Are Speaking Galileans?

When the Apostles begin to testify to the “mighty acts of God,” they do so as a body. The crowd that gathers outside the center of the central locus of the Spirit’s breakthrough into humanity responds as a group. But they also receive the message individually, each in his own language. They marvel, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?”

A Body Is One, Though It Has Many Parts

The interplay between the group and the individual also appears in the Letter to the Corinthians. Each person has his or her gift, given by the Spirit; “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” Yet, “as a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.”

As we experience this day of Pentecost, how do we testify to the reality that we are one body in Christ? How do we make that a reality for others? How do we proclaim the “mighty deeds of God” in a language that every individual can hear and understand? Each of us should answer that question for ourselves today. And as we do so, we should also remember the other person who was there for the coming of the Holy Spirit and who held the Apostles together during this time – the Blessed Mother. Let us ask for her help as we celebrate Pentecost today and the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church tomorrow.

[Readings: Acts 2:1-11; 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13; Jn 20:19-23]

Sister Veronica Schueler, F.S.E.

Sister Veronica Schueler, F.S.E. is the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, where her responsibilities include oversight of the archives and general record-keeping, as well as mission outreach. She is also the Episcopal Delegate for Religious Communities and for Catholic Health Care. She earned a certificate in bioethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center and is engaged in addressing bioethical issues for the Archdiocese. She graduated cum laude from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School in 1993. Admitted to the bars of several states, she has 15 years of experience practicing immigration law. She is a member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, a pontifical religious community with its Motherhouse in Connecticut and a local center in Bridal Veil, Oregon.

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