As the Father sent me, so am I sending you: receive the Holy Spirit
The Word This Week
We arrive at the fiftieth day - the completion of the Easter Season, and the completion of the Paschal Mystery: the Lord has died, is risen, has ascended to heaven and now gives birth to his Church, by sending the Spirit upon the apostles. This feast of the gift of the Spirit is so significant for us, because it marks the handing on of Jesuss ministry to the Church - in the Church we are guaranteed the presence of the Lord, in his sacraments, in his ministers, in the Blessed Sacrament and in his Celebrated Word. It also marks the fulfilment of our thoughts about baptism throughout this season: the gift of the Spirit which we receive in Confirmation is the seal of our baptism, guaranteeing and confirming all that baptism achieves.
Notes for Readers
The meaning of this reading is obvious: it is the story of this day. There is a great sense of mystery in the first paragraph, seen in the words what sounded like and 'something that seemed like' - almost as if Saint Luke cannot quite find the words to describe the experience. You must ensure that amazement and astonishment is present in your voice throughout the second paragraph. Dont worry about the list of strange names - but make sure you practice them out loud beforehand: it would be a shame if the reading was spoiled because your tongue tripped up over
What does the Spirit do? The Spirit permeates everyone who is a member of the Church, ensuring that we are all part of the one body of Christ. Take this reading slowly: there is a great list in the second paragraph, contrasting variety with the same God. Emphasise the words for a good purpose. In the final paragraph the important words to get across are one Spirit. Be careful with the first sentence of the last paragraph: the image of the body is an important one, because it explains how so many of us can be united in Jesus.