Discussion Questions

First Reading
Acts 2:1-11

1. Every nation was confused and amazed, because everyone understood in his or her language what the apostles were saying. If you were completely open to the Holy Spirit, would you have a deeper understanding of all that you hear? Was the miracle in the speaking or the hearing? How does the Holy Spirit use the miracle of hearing with you?

2. In his Pentecost homily Pope Francis reminded his listeners that God asked Noah, Abraham and Moses to do new things. The disciples were also doing something new when Galileans were speaking, but people from other countries were hearing in their native languages. Francis asks us the following questions:

Let us ask ourselves today: Are we open to “God’s surprises”? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the courage to strike out along the new paths which God’s newness sets before us, or do we resist, barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new? We would do well to ask ourselves these questions all through the day.

Pope Francis at Pentecost: Newness, Harmony and Mission (1) 
May 19, 2013, Vatican Radio

Second Reading
1 Corinthians 12:3b-7,12-13

1.  “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” Were Vivaldi and Michelangelo given gifts solely for their own pleasure? For whose benefit were they given? What are your gifts and for what benefit were they given to you and those around you?

2. Different gifts are displayed through different works. St. Alphonsus Rodriguez was a Jesuit Brother (1533-1617) whose job was to answer the door of the Jesuit College in Majorca. For forty years he encountered God in each person he welcomed at the door. Nobility, and crowds of poor and sick who knew about his holiness and his reputation for miracles attended his funeral. How would his spiritual gift of service compare to that of St. Francis Xavier, who converted whole countries?

Gospel
John 20:19-23

1. Jesus “breathed” on them. How does this relate to Genesis 2:7, “God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life?” What is the significance for you? How important is the Holy Spirit to you?

2. “ … When the doors were locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, … ” How were the disciples different after the Spirit’s arrival? In your own life do you tend to see the Holy Spirit as dynamic and constant or only occasional? Rate your belief in the Holy Spirit as your constant companion, on a scale of 1 to 10. Are you different when you are confident that the Spirit is with you? Explain.

Anne Osdieck
 

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson