PENTECOST SUNDAY YEAR B, 2015. The three Scripture Readings for the day, and a realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia

21 May



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Thanks, Fr.Kev



Helpful hints

It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter us just like liquid polish enters timber that is thirsty for nutrition. A good rule of thumb is to have a question like this in our mind……”Lord, what are you saying to ME in your Word today? Secondly, how can my life be changed, in order to allow God’s Word to find a Home in my being? Finally, as for special Feasts, Advent and Lent, the three Readings are in a sequence which has an underlying thread running through them. In Ordinary time, the First Reading, and the Gospel are bridged…so we generally look for the link. The Second Reading is continuous, and follows on to the next Sunday.


First Reading: Acts 2:1-11

When Pentecost day came round, the apostles had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’ The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.


(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon this reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions stated above. That is our PERSONAL response to the Word. This might take a few minutes, try not to rush it. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word, a bit like a short and sweet Text Message)

Psalm: Ps 103:1. 24. 29-31. 34

  1. Lord, send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.

Bless the Lord, my soul!

Lord God, how great you are,

How many are your works, O Lord!

The earth is full of your riches. R.

You take back your spirit, they die,

returning to the dust from which they came.

You send forth your spirit, they are created;

and you renew the face of the earth. R.

May the glory of the Lord last for ever!

May the Lord rejoice in his works!

May my thoughts be pleasing to him.

I find my joy in the Lord. R.


Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:3-7. 12-13

No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose.

Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.  The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.


Let’s PAUSE again after this Reading, and reflect on it like you did after the first Reading. The Community Acclamation follows and should be sung: e.g ALLELUIA, or PRAISE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST KING OF ENDLESS GLORY. When we are present at our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, the Alleluia or Praise be to you…should always be sung. Why? It’s a bit like singing Happy Birthday!  We never say it… 🙂


Gospel: John 20:19-23

In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you,’ and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,

so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.

For those whose sins you forgive,

they are forgiven;

for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.’

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflection time again……. Can you see and hear the links, connecting the First Reading, Second Reading and the Gospel? After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..


If you have ever opened your eyes under water, or used a snorkel and face mask, or had the opportunity to use an aqualung, it is a very different world to explore isn’t it? I love snorkelling, and it is though the fish welcome you into their world. However, they need to be treated with respect, and one must be aware of ‘no-go’ zones especially where sharks are known to call that place, ‘home’ especially at meal times. So, this next section is going down into the Scriptures, which opens the pathway for us to be curious about The Word, and it will also develop an appetite in us to do this more often.



A realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh 

Dear One and All,

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost: we hear in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, that the Spirit of God, poured out as ‘gift’ on the Apostles, who had gathered together out of fear, were transformed into a group filled with the breath of God. They then became fearless and joyful proclaimers, of the nearness of God’s Kingdom. Today in God’s Word, we hear echoes from the Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel 36:24-28 who hundreds of years before, looked forward to an outpouring of God’s Spirit. Let us see what the Prophet had to say: ‘I will gather my people from among the nations, and bring you home to your own land. I will pour clean water over you, and cleanse you of all defilement. I will take away your hearts of stone, and give you hearts for love instead. I will put my Spirit in you, and you will keep my laws and sincerely observe my commandments. You will be my people, and I will be your God.’

Christian tradition has called this Feast the Birth of the Church! However, its Religious origins go back to Old Testament times, when our ancestors in faith celebrated the initiating of the Marriage Covenant between the Lord God, and His people, through Moses on Mt. Sinai. This Covenant is summed up in the last line from the Prophet Ezekiel: “you will be my people, and I will be your God.’  That event marked a ‘special’ stage in the ‘corporate mind’ of our ancestors in faith, as they realized that they were truly God’s People. Later on, it was also celebrated as the Feast of Harvest. What an appropriate time for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the maturing Apostles!  At Pentecost, the Apostles and Mary, were transformed from a community gathered out of ‘waiting’ into a community of loving out-reach, and gentle boldness in their missionary ventures. The language of Pentecost defies all spoken language…. it is the words of loving action, and identification with, and a belonging to the Living Lord. It was this ‘rush’ of the Holy Spirit which urged the Apostles, and urges us now, to ‘Go out’ to all nations as living witnesses of our God, who ‘is with us’… at all times, even to the end of the world.


Now let’s look at today’s Gospel under the microscope! In the fourth Gospel, John and his community have the coming of the Holy Spirit in the evening of the day of Resurrection. Now, this becomes one of the appearances of the Risen Lord to Mary and the Disciples. For John and his community, the evening is really the beginning of a new week, a new creation, it is the beginning of a new order of relationship and responsibility within the economy of Salvation for all people!. In Biblical understanding and language, evening time is a special time of ‘stillness and at-oneness with God in prayer’. There are many instances of this in the Old and New Testament. Notice here that the doors were closed, hence the room where the disciples were gathered, could well be looked upon as a tomb; a place of waiting for the breath of new life to be infused into the gathered community. Notice that it was FEAR which initiated and called together the gathering into the room. We see that our Risen Lord enters into their fear, and offers them the first Easter gift; PEACE! What kind of PEACE is this? It would seem that it is the PEACE of a new beginning, a new creation; but it is a PEACE for all, won through His wounds and resurrection. The Wounded Risen Lord’s impact at their recognition of Him, was a transformation from FEAR to JOY! Once again the Easter Gift from the Risen Lord was imparted again. However, this gift, this transformation which took place within the Disciples carries with it a responsibility of Mission and loving outreach! ‘As the Father sent me, so I am sending you’. This is truly a Mission from God, because it is the I AM, or Y-H-W-H implied in this inspired text now confirms that what happened to Jesus at his Baptism in Chapter 1:32, is now happening to the Disciples.

There is still more! Notice that Jesus breathes on his disciples and says, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit…..’ now this cannot be done from a distance; no, it implies a very intimate communion between the Risen Lord, and His Disciples. Let’s examine this….Think about the people who have breathed on you during your life. Your parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, and lovers. In the evening time the life of our parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters and lovers, we breathe on them! In this instance, it would seem that John and his community see this also as the moment of creative a movement within the Disciples. Similar to the creative movement of the breath of God at the beginning of time, over the darkness of the deep, as we read in Genesis. As with the work of creation, we were made to be caretakers and stewards of the creative order, here in this Pentecost experience, we see a new kind of stewardship that is of the forgiveness of sin, the imparting of Peace, and the loving outreach which will go to the ends of the earth.

So keeping that all in mind, we are called through Baptism, and confirmed in the Spirit, that we are called and sent out, with the embodiment of PEACE… other words, we are all called Jonah…… As Old Testament Prophet Jonah was called to convert the Nineveites after his experience of Salvation, with the three day sojourn in the Belly of the Whale, his inner change was  manifested in, and through  his embodiment of peace, as his very name suggests…..Yonah  in Hebrew, means PEACE! His very presence and demeanour was the invitation for the people to ‘change’. The same goes for us…….the first gift of Easter/Pentecost is that creative inner PEACE which runs deep within the fibre of our being, and is truly a gift from God for others. So, now let’s have a closer look at the Spirit’s Gifts.


This Solemnity is a strong reminder to all of us of the Gifts of the Spirit that we have been given, and the responsibility that we all have in nourishing and using the Spirit’s Gifts. Wisdom, Understanding, Right Judgment, Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, Awe and Wonder.

We live in a multi-cultural society, and the differences in language and custom can easily reinforce the barriers which are counterproductive in the process of local and national identity. If we are truly spirit-filled people the language barrier is dissolved through listening, acceptance of diversity, and a desire to look for the goodness in each other. If we are intent in pursuing nit picking and negativity in new comers to our country, and in those who have their roots deep within this land, we run the high risk of cramping the creativity of the Holy Spirit. If we are in positions of leadership in the media, we should enable our Television shows and advertisements to be representative of the multi culturalism in our country. How representative are our Parliamentarians of our people? Australians have the grand opportunity to first desire to meet our new brothers and sisters, and it is only from the desire to meet, listen and share, enables the formula for Reconciliation to be authentic, true and communitarian in its outcome.   Food for thought!

images Multi cultural Aussies

Perhaps the following prayer could be in our hearts and on our lips this day.

‘Holy Sacred Spirit, breathe your breath on us. Holy Sacred Spirit, breathe your life in us’. Words by Monica Brown, Song Album: A REMEMBERING HEART.  God Bless you and your families, and may we never forget each other in prayer.    Fr.Kev


Jesus is Lord with multiple flags sm

This is a great opportunity to gather the Family in Prayer. Having a Prayer Setting really adds to and designates this time as a ‘special’ time together. You might like to have a nice coloured cloth on a coffee table, or on the centre of the Dining Room Table. You will need a candle, Crucifix, Bible …in the opened position, even at the Gospel of the Sunday, and maybe a flower. During Easter tide you might like to place some white and gold material on your devotional altar. You might like to create your own permanent ‘sacred space’ in your home, where the Word of God is open, and a small tee light within a fire proof glass, could awaken in the minds and hearts of your family of the ‘real presence’ of God in His Word.  Prayer time needs to be able to engage as many of our senses as possible. The burning of some fragrant oil also can evoke in the minds of your family, ‘prayer time’. Someone in the family might like to be the leader of the intercessions, then other family members can share the prayers….everyone can be invited to join is spontaneous shared prayer…

Leader: Let us pray to be faithful to the Spirit of truth who dwells within each of us.

  1. That the Spirit guide the Church to testify to Jesus with truth. We pray to the Lord: Lord graciously hear us.
  2. That the Spirit guide all peoples to glorify God. We pray to the Lord: Lord graciously hear us.
  3. That the Spirit guide those in need to receive the fruit of that same Spirit. We pray to the Lord: Lord graciously hear us.
  4. That the Spirit guide each of us to proclaim the gospel with sincerity and truth. We pray to the Lord: Lord graciously hear us.
  5. Let’s think back over the past week, and what we have seen on the T.V News, Breaking News on our Mobile Phones and ipads….who are some of the people in our Global village or need our prayers? You might like to share some of these…………., we pray to the Lord:Lord, graciously hear us.

Leader: Gracious God, you send your Spirit upon us to guide us in all things: hear these our prayers that we might one day dwell with you for ever and ever. Amen.


Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.

Iona Abbey is located on the Isle of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the West Coast of Scotland. It is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Western Europe. The abbey was a focal point for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and marks the foundation of a monastic community by St. Columba, when Iona was part of the Kingdom of Dál Riata. 

Leader:          The Cross


The bread……………


The pain


The joy………………


The Gospel……………


The love…………


The light……………


The darkness…………….

ALL          WE SHALL PERISH IT. Amen.

w9 Faith gathered


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