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Association of the Miraculous Medal
Weekly Gospel Reflection
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.

May 24, 2015—Pentecost

  John 20:19-23 or John 15:26-27; 16:12-15

Father Oscar Lukefahr, C.M.

In 1839, Saint Barbara Ko Suni, a Korean housewife, was arrested by government authorities during a terrible persecution of Christians. She was tortured by limb-bending that broke her arms and legs, and was beaten so viciously that her flesh was torn to shreds. Barbara told those with her in prison, "Formerly, the mere mention of the tortures was enough to set me trembling, but the Holy Spirit has endowed me with such grace that I have no more fear. I feel only joy." She was beheaded on December 29, 1839, at the age of 42.

Saint Barbara is a witness to the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is pictured in Scripture as fire, or wind, or a dove. These images elicit ideas of love, power, and gentleness, but where do we find them expressed in history? 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 as a Helper to live in us, inspiring us to think, speak, and act like Jesus. The Holy Spirit makes himself known in history 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 as fire and wind, filling the apostles with love and courage (today’s First Reading). Jesus has since given his Spirit to generations of believers whose lives and actions show forth the Holy Spirit. Saint Barbara, who felt "only joy" in her sufferings and martyrdom, made visible the power of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit makes his presence known in ordinary ways too. Every prayer said, every lesson taught, every kind deed and loving word tell how the Holy Spirit lives in believers. We’ve all seen such 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.

Above all, we see the love, power, and gentleness of the Holy Spirit in our Blessed Mother. She changed history by accepting the Spirit! We ask Mary to intercede for us that our words and actions may make the Holy Spirit present in our world.

Read last week's reflection.