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Association of the Miraculous Medal
Gospel Reflections for June 4

Besides her great privilege of being the Mother of God, Mary was also her Son’s first disciple. She is often called the Model, or Exemplar of the Church. Following her example, we walk with her through the Gospels as we reflect on her response to God in her life.

June 4, 2017 —Pentecost

John 20:19-23
 Father Oscar Lukefahr, C.M.

A sixth grade teacher at a Catholic school was discussing the Holy Spirit with her students. When she asked if there were questions, a boy said: “How come we say at benediction, ‘Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the parakeet?’ I thought the Holy Spirit was supposed to be a dove.”  The teacher explained that we actually say, “Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete,” and that a paraclete is an advocate, a helper.

The Holy Spirit is also pictured in Scripture as a dove, or fire, or wind. These images elicit ideas of gentleness, love, and power, but they can leave us confused about who the Holy Spirit really is. When God the Father created the universe, and when God the Son redeemed us by dying on the cross, they performed actions distinct from us, actions that made history. But the Holy Spirit was sent by Jesus to live in us, inspiring us to think, speak, and act like Jesus. The Holy Spirit makes himself known through what we accomplish.

Today’s Gospel tells how Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles at Easter so they could forgive sins in his name. Jesus sent the Spirit again on Pentecost (today’s First Reading) as tongues of fire and a strong wind, filling the apostles with love and courage. Jesus has since given his Spirit to generations of believers, and their actions show forth the Holy Spirit. Saint Teresa of Calcuta and Saint John Paul II, for example, by their lives and actions proved the presence and power of the Spirit.

Every prayer said, every lesson taught, every kind deed and loving word tell how the Holy Spirit lives in believers as Helper, Comforter ... Paraclete. We’ve all seen evidence of the Spirit: the woman who brings dinner to a grieving family, a dad who coaches Little League baseball, a friend who visits a sick neighbor.

As we notice such works of the Spirit,  as we let the Spirit move us to acts of kindness, we come to know the Holy Spirit. He’s not a parakeet. He is the third Person of the Trinity, God who loves!

 

 
             Read last week's reflection.