Pentecost

Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 103; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13; John 20:19-23

Pentecost was less understood than the other two Jewish pilgrimage feasts of Passover and Tabernacles. The Dead Sea Scrolls showed that Pentecost was associated with God giving the Covenant on Sinai and at Pentecost new community members were enrolled. So the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles at Pentecost fits neatly with this Covenant feast: the formal birth of the Christian Church and the commitment and strengthening of the Apostles for their task. Acts tells us that “they were all together” –earlier verses imply that this included “some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers”. The list of peoples who hear and understand the Apostles extends from the east to west of the empire –effectively this is the mission programme now starting, and therefore the “table of contents” for the book of Acts. Paul instructs the Corinthians that Christians together make up the body of Christ on earth. He emphasizes that it is the one Spirit who gives the gifts each individual needs for the particular task God has given him or her. Just before the first ending of John’s Gospel, Jesus appears to Mary Magdalen after his resurrection, and then to the disciples huddled together in a closed room “for fear of the Jews”. Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit on them, giving them power to forgive sins. *** Notes on the Sunday readings from Trinity Sunday to the Feast of Christ the King, and for Years B and C, are to be published separately in due course. ***

Appendix 1: The Roman Catholic Lectionary During each church year, from the beginning of Advent, one of the three synoptic Gospels is read semi-continuously on most Sundays, ie most of the Gospel in read, usually in its normal order. Matthew’s Gospel is read in year A of the three-year cycle, Mark’s Gospel in Year B, and the Gospel of Luke in Year C. Since Mark’s Gospel is shorter, its reading is interrupted by a fuller reading of Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel. John’s Gospel is also read during much of Lent and the Easter season. The first reading each Sunday is normally from the Old Testament, and is chosen to support or relate to that day’s gospel. The second reading each Sunday is from the New Testament, each document being read semi-continuously –and therefore usually not relating to the other two readings. Most of the New Testament is heard over the three-year

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