Sunday, May 27, is Pentecost Sunday (Liturgical Year B, Cycle II).


This Pentecost, surprise the family with seven gifts representing the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Wisdom: new rosaries (or rosary aids).

Understanding: Catholic Bible.

Counsel: Catechism or YouCat for youth.

Fortitude: Catholic movies about moral courage.

Knowledge: a celebration of nature.

Piety: gifts for others.

Fear of the Lord: church architecture and time at church.


Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23

Our Take

Today is the birthday of the Church, and the readings explain why.

1. Jesus commissions the apostles. “As the Father sent me, so I send you,” Christ says. This shows how much Jesus chooses to rely on us.

2. The apostles receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus puts the Holy Spirit in charge of the Church as much as he puts the Church in charge of his mission. He has chosen to rely on us — but we will have to rely on him in order to accomplish his will.

3. The Holy Spirit turns the Church into Christ’s body. In our second reading, we get a CEO’s view of the Church. Each person and “department” has its place. But no human being is capable of being the Church’s “CEO.” Only the Holy Spirit — God — can properly designate who does what and how it fits together.

4. The Holy Spirit inspires the first Christians. In the famous first reading, visitors from all over the world hear the apostles in their own language. The main point isn’t that the Holy Spirit inspires preachers — it’s that the Holy Spirit inspires listeners. It isn’t the supernatural quality of the words in the end that matters, but the supernatural quality of the listening.

Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas,

where Tom is writer in residence at Benedictine College.