By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ACTS 2:1-11 FIRST READING
(“All were filled with the Holy Spirit.”)
- What day had come, and where were the disciples gathered? Acts 2:1
- How many days after the Passover was Pentecost celebrated, and what are other names for it? Leviticus 23:15-16, Exodus 23:16, Numbers 28:26
- What suddenly happened from up in the sky, and where was it heard? Acts 2:2
- Read the following scripture, and tell what the Spirit gives to a person? Ezekiel 37:9, 14
- What appeared, and what did it do? Acts 2:3
- What was Jesus’ promise just before he ascended to heaven? Acts 1:5, 8
- With what were all filled, and how did they express themselves? Acts 2:4
- What did the Spirit prompt them to do? Acts 2:4, Acts 4:31
- Who was staying in Jerusalem at the time, and what did they hear? Acts 2:5-6
- About what were they confused? Acts 2:6
- What was their reaction? What did they ask, and about what were they so amazed? Acts 2:7-11
Personal – How can your family or friends identify the Spirit of God’s presence in you? What comes forth from your mouth, and what do you need to do so people will be astonished by your words?
THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 12:3-7, 12-13 SECOND READING
(“No one can say “Jesus is Lord,” except in the Holy Spirit.”)
- What is Paul telling the brothers that you cannot do in the Spirit of God, and what can be said only in the Holy Spirit? 1 Corinthians 12:3
- What is there different, but with the same Spirit? 1 Corinthians 12:4
- There are different ministries and works but the same God who accomplishes what? 1 Corinthians 12:5-6
- To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for what reason? 1 Corinthians 12:7
- In what gifts should you try to be rich? 1 Corinthians 14:12
- Fill in the following blanks: The body is ___ and has _____ members, but all the members, ____ though they are, are ____ body; and so it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12
- In the one Spirit, who were baptized into the one body? 1 Corinthians 12:13
- What have all of us been given to drink? 1 Cor. 12:13
- Into whom have we been baptized? Galatians 3:27
- When were we chosen and sealed with the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 1:13
Personal – From the above scriptures, how can you identify the manifestation of the Spirit in your life, and in those you come in contact with? Reread 1 Corinthians 12:3, and take note of what comes forth from your mouth this week.
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 20:19-23 GOSPEL
(“Receive the Holy Spirit.”)
- Why did the disciples lock the doors of the place where they were? John 20:19
- Who came and stood before them, and what did he say to them? John 20:19
- When he had said this, what did he show them? John 20:20
- What did the disciples do at the sight of the Lord? John 20:20
Personal – In what way has our Lord appeared to you when you have been gathered with others praying, and what has been your response?
- What did Jesus say again, and what is his gift to you? John 20:21, John 14:27
- Whom has the Father sent, and who sends us? John 20:21
- What did Jesus do to the disciples, and what did they receive? John 20:22
- How did the Lord God form man, and how did he give him life? Genesis 2:7
- If we forgive other’s sin, what happens to them, and if we hold them bound, what happens? John 20:23
- What did Jesus say to the Father while on the cross, and whom should we imitate? Luke 23:34, Ephesians 5:1-2
Personal – How do others see in you, spiritually and physically, the breath of his life? How do others see you living out your sign of baptism through repentance, which means change? How do others see you as you practice forgiveness of others, and ask others to forgive you? How often do you feel the need for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and why?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34
(“When you send forth your Spirit, they are created.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
In today’s readings we celebrate the Feast of “Pentecost,” which means fifty (50). This was a feast that was celebrated about fifty days after Passover and was a feast of thanksgiving for the harvest. The first fruits of the crop were offered to God that day. All Jewish men were expected to come to the temple for the feast. The city was usually full to overflowing, and it was fitting that this day was chosen as the day the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles.
Today is, in reality, the birthday of the church, and the Christian religion was to be a church for the whole world. The old law was given by God to Moses for the Jews only. The new law, given by Christ and confirmed by the power of the Holy Spirit, was for all peoples. That means you, and that means today, right where you are. The very fact that you are reading this Bible Study is proof that the power of the Holy Spirit is drawing you near to him.
Let today be the day that you fall upon your knees and invite Jesus Christ to come into your heart and become the Lord of your life. Take a few moments and confess to the Lord all that is twisted within you, and then ask him to let his Holy Spirit fill you with the power and peace that surpasses all understanding. The celebration of Pentecost is for us as well as it was for the Jews in today’s passage. Let the power of the Holy Spirit flow through you, and you will enjoy that same gift that the Apostles had, the gift of speaking in tongues.
The signs and wonders of that incredible day brought huge crowds of Jews to the place where the Apostles were staying. This was the day chosen for the Apostles to go forward and make disciples of all nations. We are called also to go forward and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). Let us remember, after the Jews celebrated the Feast of the Passover (Moses leading his people to freedom), they celebrated the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Harvests which were celebrated on the same day and were later called Pentecost. It was one of three major feasts of the year (Leviticus 23:16), a feast of thanksgiving for the harvested crops. The Holy Spirit came fifty days after the resurrection and Peter’s speech resulted in a harvest of new believers.
The Lord needs some good laborers to work in the vineyard. Are you ready to join the workers?
1 CORINTHIANS 12:3-7, 12-13
In this passage, we see that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were given for the good of the whole community to help build up the body of Christ. We should not refuse to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit nor claim them as our own. Paul clearly warns against listening to false teachers, and he shows us how to check out their credentials. We are to find out what they teach about Christ.
We see people today who mock Jesus Christ, not only with their words, but in the way they live. We see people using their gifts to split communities apart, and then trying to tell us that they are only doing God’s will. Anyone can claim to speak for God, and we need only to look at some of the leaders in some countries, and we can see a lot of false messiahs running around. God has given us many different gifts, but we must remember, they all come from the same Spirit, and they are to be used to help the community or church. They will know we are Christians by the way we love and help one another.
Paul compares the body of Christ to a human body. Each part is an individual, and has a specific job to do. In their differences, all of the parts must work together for the good of the whole body. Jesus Christ is the head, and the rest of us make up the body of Christ. It is very important that we are not too proud of our abilities, and we must not compare ourselves with one another. We are called to use our different gifts together, to spread the “Good News” to a world that is filled with “bad news.” The church, which is the people who believe that “Jesus is Lord,” must be united in its belief in Christ. It must not let its leaders or members use any gifts to cause divisions or strife.
Faith in Christ is the core of Christian unity. We are one body, with one spirit, united in Christ with the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we were baptized into the Christian Faith, the Holy Spirit took up residence in us and we became the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16). You, by your baptism, have been born into God’s family, and our common goal is faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Today’s Gospel passage reveals to us the incredible gift of the Holy Spirit being given publicly to the disciples of Jesus by Jesus himself. This is a tremendous feast day in the church. We look back, and we see that Advent was a time to prepare for the Incarnation of God (God becoming man). Christmas was the happening of this great Incarnation act. We then moved into Lent and began to prepare ourselves for the sufferings endured by Christ on our behalf during his holy week. We celebrated victory in Jesus’ triumph over death which guaranteed our union with him in heaven.
Today, we celebrate in Pentecost the Holy Spirit coming to abide within his church. This means abiding in you, me, and all believers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gives the power to preserve, to teach, to explain, and to spread the Gospel of “Good News,” which is a message of hope and love for everyone in the world.
This Holy Spirit who came upon the disciples and all of the people in the upper room is the same Spirit who wants to abide in us. We can let him come into our heart right now by getting down on our knees and confessing our sins to the Lord. Invite him to come and take up residence in your temple, and let him take control of your life. His power will flow through you, and your life will never be the same again. His peace will be your peace, and it will be a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
The power from the Holy Spirit helps all of us live a life of holiness and wholeness. We need to always remember that God’s plan for each one of us is to live a life that is abundant and full (John 10:10). The Holy Spirit gives us the power, in the name of Jesus, to bind Satan and his cohorts, and in his name, to loosen the Spirit of the Lord Jesus to heal, to restore and, to forgive. We can release others from the bondage of sin by our compassion and forgiveness. We are more than conquerors; we are children of the Living God and we are called to set the captives free and give sight to the blind. We do that by forgiving them, and loving them through the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Pentecost – the harvest is now, the Kingdom of God is at hand, come and be fishers of men. I pray that the Holy Spirit today will fill you with his love and power, and fill all of us with gratitude for all that God has done for us.
The first reading tells us that we celebrate the birthday of the church when we celebrate “Pentecost.” The second reading reveals that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are to be used to uplift the community. The Gospel reveals to us that the Holy Spirit gives us power in the name of Jesus. This power is a healing power.
Let us take a long look at our gifts, and then share them with others this week. You might visit someone who is sick, or visit someone in jail. You might write a letter to someone who is lonely, or cook someone a special meal. Do something beautiful for God this week, and keep on giving your gift away. God will never let you be without a gift – try it, you’ll like it.