Readings and Reflections for Pentecost Sunday

“Pentecost” by Jean Restout II (1692–1768). Photo: Web Gallery of Art/Public Domain

Sunday, May 23 
Pentecost Sunday – Solemnity 

Roman Ordinary calendar


St. Desiderius, St. William of Rochester


Acts of the Apostles 2,1-11.

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. 
And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. 
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. 
And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. 
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. 
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? 
Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? 
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 
Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, 
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.” 

Psalms 104(103),1.24.29-30.31.34.

Bless the LORD, O my soul! 
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed! 
You are clothed with majesty and glory, 
How manifold are your works, O LORD! 
the earth is full of your creatures; 

If you take away their breath, they perish 
and return to their dust. 
When you send forth your spirit, they are created, 
and you renew the face of the earth. 

If you May the glory of the LORD endure forever; 
may the LORD be glad in his works! 
Pleasing to him be my theme; 
I will be glad in the LORD. 

Letter to the Galatians 5,16-25.

I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. 
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. 
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, 
idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, 
occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 
gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 
Now those who belong to Christ (Jesus) have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. 
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 15,26-27.16,12-15.

Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. 
And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning. 
I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. 
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. 
He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. 
Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” 


Saint Bruno of Segni (c.1045-1123) 
Bishop 
Commentary on the book of Exodus, ch. 15

From Jewish to Christian Pentecost

Mount Sinai is symbolic of Mount Zion (…) Note well how the two testaments mirror one another and with what accord the feast of Pentecost is celebrated by each of them (…) On the same day, and in a very similar manner, the Lord came down on Mount Zion just as he did on Mount Sinai (…)

Luke wrote: “Suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them” (Acts 2:2-3) (…) Yes, a loud noise was heard from every direction and fire was seen. On Sinai there was a thick cloud, but on Mount Zion the shining of a brilliant light. In the former case it was a question of “a copy and shadow” (Heb 8:5), but in the second of perfect reality. Formerly thunder was to be heard, now the voice of the apostles was perceived. On the one hand flashes of lightening, on the other wonders shone out in every place (…).

“All left the camp to meet God at the foot of the mountain” (cf. Ex 19:17). And in the Acts of the Apostles we read that: “At the sound the people gathered in a large crowd” (…) People from the whole of Jerusalem gathered together at the foot of the mountain of Zion, in other words, in the place where Zion, prefiguration of holy Church, began to be built up and to lay its foundations (…).

“Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke, for the Lord came down upon it in fire” (v. 18) (…) How could those set alight by the great fire of the Holy Spirit not burn? As smoke indicates the presence of fire, so the fire of the Holy Spirit manifested its presence in the apostles’ hearts by the conviction with which they spoke and by their different languages. How happy the hearts that are filled with this fire! How happy those who burn with this heat! “The whole mountain trembled violently. The trumpet blast grew louder and louder” (vv. 18-19) (…) Even so, the voice and preaching of the apostles became ever stronger; they made themselves heard further and further away until “through all the earth their voice resounded, and to the ends of the world their message” (Ps 19[18]:5).

Traditional Latin Mass Readings for this Sunday

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