Let us pray.
Send us your Spirit so that we may give witness to your love.
Open our hearts to the needs of others,
and help us use our gifts for the good of all people.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Opening Life Reflection
On the feast of Pentecost we remember who we are called to be as Christians. To begin invite the young people to brainstorm what comes to mind when they think of the Holy Spirit. Write down their responses. Discuss:
- What images come to mind when you think of the Holy Spirit?
- What is your understanding of the Holy Spirit?
- How does the Holy Spirit influence your life?
Allow time for discussion. The feast of Pentecost celebrates the sending of the Spirit upon the Church. Today we remember the gift of the Spirit given to us at our Baptism.
Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from Acts listen to how the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples.
Read Acts 2:1-11.
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters
- How did the Holy Spirit come to the disciples?
- What did the disciples begin to do?
- How did the crowd react?
In today’s gospel hear how Jesus gave his disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Read John 20:19-23.
Allow for silence.
- Where were the disciples gathered?
- What did Jesus say when he appeared before them?
- How did Jesus give the disciples the gift of his Spirit?
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings.
The reading from Acts presents the story of the Spirit descending upon the disciples. When the Holy Spirit comes, there is a rush of wind and tongues of fire appear and rest on each disciple. We can only imagine the excitement and exhilaration that the disciples must have felt as they began to speak in other languages. The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were empowered to boldly proclaim the good news and they gave witness to the world of the wonders of God.
Today’s Gospel begins with the disciples gathered behind locked doors. They were fearful of the Jews. Then something wonderful happens. Jesus appears to his friends and their fear turns into joy. Jesus greets the disciples with the calming words, “Peace be with you.” Then he breathes on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Jesus empowers his disciples for an important mission of reconciliation. They are entrusted to go out and heal the world.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- Why did Jesus breathe on his disciples?
- Why is wind used as a symbol for the Holy Spirit?
- How is the Holy Spirit active in your life?
If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.
Doctrinal Discussion Starter
The gifts of the Spirit and the Sacrament of Confirmation
On Pentecost the gift of the Holy Spirit is given to the disciples. We too receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at Baptism. The Sacrament of Confirmation completes Baptism and seals us with the gift of the Spirit so that we may be strengthened to go forth and bear witness to Christ, as did the first apostles.
In the New Testament the Spirit is described as descending upon Jesus at his baptism. But the fullness of the Holy Spirit was meant not only for Jesus, but also for the entire people of God. Jesus promised that the outpouring of the Spirit would be the gift that he would send to his Church.
- What are some signs of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the Church?
- What are signs of the Spirit’s presence in your life?
- How does celebrating Pentecost help you to live your baptism?
The Gospel in Life
How can you give witness to the Spirit’s presence in your life? How can the Spirit give you the courage to standup for what you know to be right and true?
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, theme 5
Junior High, Mystery of God, chapter 12
Junior High, Morality, chapter 6
Junior High, Church History, chapter 7
Blest Are We
Grade 7, chapters 16, 18, 20
Grade 8, chapter 7