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LECTIO DIVINA for Pentecost Sunday, Year A

(7:30 7:34)

We enter into Lectio Divina, in the spirit of prayer.

In the name of the Father...it is good to come together and practice
lectio divina so that we may develop a deep and genuine love for it...as
you relax and breathe and focus softly upon the words I am saying, you
are allowing the gentle tuning of your being with the Lord.

It is not necessary that you exert extra effort to concentrate and there is
nothing that you need remember; just relax and breathe and follow...

NOW, Let all those worries and cares and soooo many things that
block up our own ears and our hearts, occupying them so there is no
room for the Lord to enter in.

Let us just get rid of all those and interiorly pray, Send forth your spirit
O Lord and renew the face of the earth. Take away from me these
cares and let me be, at least for this time in my day, attentive to your
voice to the offer, to the gift of peace.

Send forth your spirit O Lord and renew the face of the earth. (Pause)
Lord, help me to .... See and to hear... what these Holy Words say... to
my head that I may know you... to my heart that I may love you... to my
hands that I may serve you. (pause)

Send forth your spirit O Lord and renew the face of the earth. (Long
Pause)



LECTIO (7:34 7:40)
John 20:19-23 (Good News Translation)

It was evening on the day Jesus rose from the dead,
the first day of the week,
and the doors of the house where the disciples had met
were locked for fear of the authorities.
Jesus came and stood among them and said,
Peace be with you.
After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again,
Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.

When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them;
if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

Lectio

From the very beginning of the history of salvation, when the author of
Genesis describes the origins of the cosmos and life, the Spirit of God is
present in every moment and in every saving activity. In Genesis 1:2,
over a shapeless and dark earth, the Spirit, a mighty wind, was sweeping
and announced Gods Word, the source of order and life. In the Old
Testament, we can find the Spirit acting mainly through those
individuals called to perform a special role in Israel. To mention just a
couple of cases, the Spirit was: in Moses, who shared his own Spirit with
the seventy elders who prophesied (Numbers 11:25); in Joshua, who led
the Hebrews into the land of Canaan (Deuteronomy 34:9); in Samson,
who waged war against the Philistines (Judges 13:25); in Saul and David,
the first kings of Israel (1 Samuel 10:10; 16:13).

The prophet foretold that the Spirit will act through the announced
Messiah: The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him (Isaiah 11:2); the
Spirit is poured upon Israel and her offspring (Isaiah 44:3); and upon
the mysterious Servant of Yahweh, a foreshadowing of Jesus himself
(Isaiah 61:1), who will quote this passage in the moment in which he
begins his ministry in Nazareth, his hometown (Luke 4:16-19).

It is in the New Testament where the Spirit plays the most important
role. What deserves our attention is not only the people, but the events
and moments in which he acts, as well as the different forms of that
action. In fact, in Jesus history we can underline three essential
moments which the presence of the Spirit marks as summits of
salvation.

Both Matthew and Luke mention the action of the Spirit as the key
element in the birth of the Messiah. In Lukes Gospel account (1:35),
the Incarnation is not just the result of Marys decision to accept Gods
plans for her life, but The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the
power of the Most High will overshadow you

In Matthews Gospel account (1:18), even if the evangelist does not
mention any precise moment, Marys pregnancy is announced as an
event that escapes Josephs understanding and can only be expressed as
a mere statement of fact: When his [Jesus] mother Mary was found
with child through the holy Spirit.

In Jesus baptism, the four evangelists underline the importance of that
event by mentioning the presence of the Spirit under the image of a
dove; while the three Synoptic Gospels recount the words of the Father
declaring that Jesus is his Son in whom he is pleased (Matthew 3:13-
17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34).

A last moment in Jesus life is his own death. For John (19:30), when
Jesus died, he handed over the Spirit, something which he could not
do until he had been glorified (John 7:37-39).

That is precisely what we read in todays Gospel. Todays readings offer
some details concerning the richness and fullness of the Spirit. Even as
calm and peaceful as the whispering breath, it can provoke actions
oriented to the good of the community, such as healing and prophecy;
or as showy as speaking in tongues or some of the other gifts or
charismas mentioned by Paul. In any case, they are all meant to build
the Body of Christ.

Meditatio (7:40 7:46)

I will read the Gospel a second time. Listen as if you were hearing it for
the first time. As I read, listen to a word or phrase that stands out for
you...perhaps, the one that stirs your heart or mind or senses

It was evening on the day Jesus rose from the dead,
the first day of the week,
and the doors of the house where the disciples had met
were locked for fear of the authorities.
Jesus came and stood among them and said,
Peace be with you.
After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again,
Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.

When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them;
if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

The book of Acts is, in a sense, the Gospel or the history of the Spirit
building the Church step by step in one community after another.
There is always something unexpected, fresh and new, leading to
growth, encouraging the Apostles and the rest of the community to find
ways out of every conflict. The old definition of the Spirit from the
Creed, Lord and giver of life, explains the living force that made the
Church evolve in faithfulness to Jesus message and to the teaching of
the Apostles.

Do we share that openness to new ways to express our faith? Can we
dare fight the heavy burden of routine, or do we prefer to rely on a
meticulous observance of sometimes obsolete norms and regulations
that, at least on some occasions, strangle and suffocate the Spirit in us?
Or, on the other hand, do we accept too easily, and without analysis,
any new trend as if it were a Christian gift?

Oratio (7:46 7:55)

I will read the Gospel a third time. As you listen, hear it as if hearing
you were it for the last time, allow your word or phrase to evoke in you
a personal response -- I dont know if it would be a response of praise,
or love, or repentance, or perhaps a short prayer... but you know.

It was evening on the day Jesus rose from the dead,
the first day of the week,
and the doors of the house where the disciples had met
were locked for fear of the authorities.
Jesus came and stood among them and said,
Peace be with you.
After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again,
Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.

When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them;
if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

Pray for the Church. Pentecost, as the old saying goes, is its birthday.
Ask Jesus to bestow on us the gifts of his Spirit, that we may cooperate
in the process of renewal and growth in which so many Christian
communities are involved. (Pause)

Pray for those new Christians who were baptized at the Easter Vigil:
that their vitality may become the new sap which invigorates the Church
in fidelity to the Gospel. Recall those you know by face or by name. If
you do not know anyone in particular, pray for them as a group of new
brothers and sisters we are responsible for. (Pause)

Pray for those who feel abandoned, spirit-less, who have lost their
hope in the future and their trust in church institutions: that they me
feel the force of the Spirit and be renewed in the joy of growing in faith.
(Pause)

Contemplacio (7:55 7:59)

Whether you realize it or not, you now bear the abundant fruit of Gods
compassionate response by which devout hearts raise their gaze to God
in sentiments of a stronger faith, a more fervent hope and an undying
love.
Listen to the Sequence for Pentecost (Veni Sante Spiritus). Pay
attention to the Spirits gifts and actions in Christians and try to find
them in yourself, even if they are a mere glimpse of what the first
community experienced. Give thanks for having been called to share in
the same force that continues to build up Christs Church.

Holy Spirit, Lord divine, Come, from heights of heavn and shine,
Come with blessed radiance bright!

Come, O Father of the poor, Come, whose treasured gifts ensure,
Come, our hearts unfailing light!

Of consolers, wisest, best, And our souls most welcome guest,
Sweet refreshment, sweet repose.

In our labour rest most sweet, Pleasant coolness in the heat,
Consolation in our woes.

Light most blessed, shine with grace. In our hearts most secret
place, Fill your faithful through and through.

Left without your presence here, Life itself would disappear,
Nothing thrives apart from you!

Cleanse our soiled hearts of sin, Arid souls refresh within,
Wounded lives to health restore.

Bend the stubborn heart and will, Melt the frozen, warm the chill,
Guide the wayward home once more!

On the faithful who are true And profess their faith in you, In your
sevnfold gift descend!

Give us virtues sure reward, Give us your salvation, Lord, Give us
joys that never end!

Final Prayer (7:59 8:00)

O God, our Father
In Christ, your Living Word,
You gave us a model of new humanity,
Let the Holy Spirit make us not only listeners,
But also doers of the Gospel,
So that the whole world may know you and glorify your Name,
Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, now and forever, Amen.