Pentecost Sunday 2020: JN 20:19-23, Homily, Prayers of the Faithful, Bulletin link

May 31, 2020 bulletin cover

CLICK here to read this weekend’s bulletin

CLICK HERE to listen to my Pentecost Homily

Gospel JN 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
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.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

 

Prayers of the Faithful

Pentecost 2020

Let us pray to be guided by the strong wind of the Holy Spirit within our Church. May we seek integrity in prayer and service in the Diocese of Colorado Springs.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to lift up the leadership of the baptized, and to lift up all who work to sustain the Church’s mission of service and healing.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for justice for people, for an end of racism in our cities, for an end of misogyny and xenophobia. May we build a Church on unity and hope for all people in the aftermath of COVID-19.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for healing by the Holy Spirit for all people who face difficulties in marriage, those who struggle to raise and support their young children, for people who cannot care for their ailing parents, and for those who have lost their jobs.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for integrity and peace across the globe. Let us rely solely on Pentecost to heal lives and to provide hope for people as we pick up the pieces of joblessness and despair after this pandemic.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to be guided by the strong wind of love for our beloved dead whom we have cared for on earth. May Pentecost strengthen our unity and provide hope for the grieving.

We pray to the Lord.

 

Homily

My Dear Followers of Jesus,

Today is Pentecost. In our lifetimes, we have never celebrated Pentecost in such an unusual manner. We are only ten people gathered in this church that holds 491. So many of our friends are nowhere to be seen. Our recent graduates are not here to celebrate milestones. Those who have waited for Easter sacraments will continue to do so. Those who have lost loved ones remain silent in their grief. We cannot see the toddlers who have learned to walk since February. They may have even cut their teeth in isolation.

Our lower faces are covered with masks. We cannot view the spontaneous grins of delight as we recognize one another. Our hands are covered with sanitizer as we wait to hold our children’s children or the hands of our friends. Our Sign of Peace is a distant nod of our heads. Our favorite pews are roped off. We sit six feet from recognition and from love.

This pandemic, COVID-19, has pinned us down on asphalt. It sits firmly on our necks. We can’t breathe. 100,000 people have died. The virus knows no skin color or educational background or cultural status or political party. The ventilator has become an image of hope for us. Janitors, nurses, doctors and first-responders have been lifted up and our eyes are filled with tears of gratitude. Our eyes staring over masks reveal the exhaustion we feel having been isolated. Our eyes reveal the questions we have about this virus and our social policies, our fears and our faith. Our eyes capture our longing to be together again, to be recognized, and to be loved.

Our gospel from John reveals hope in the dark confines of fear. Jesus appears, even though the doors are locked. Jesus appears to those who self-quarantined out of fear of death. The disciples did not know how to change their grief into hope on their own. They were stymied as to how to carry on when they thought the source of love was dead. They waited, bearing the weight of fear in their eyes and in the shortness of their breath.

And then, as if from out-of-the-blue, the one they knew, Jesus himself came to them. The first word out of his mouth was, “Peace.” Can you image how their bodies relaxed, how their spirits came alive as they recognized his voice. They thought they would never hear that tender and courageous voice again. “Peace”.

He revealed to them his bodily scars. Then…then, in a profound moment of joy, he breathed on them. They were the first to receive the Holy Spirit. Pentecost, in John’s gospel, happened on the day of resurrection. Their bodies relaxed, the chokehold of fear was released. They could breathe again.

My dear believers in the Holy Spirit, today we bring all the pain of our world to this moment of Pentecost. We ask today for everything. We leave nothing out because everything is possible in the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is the most important feast in the Church. This is the feast of possibility, of wonder and of dreaming. This is the feast that knows no bounds. The Spirit cannot be locked up or washed away or given institutional boundaries.

We lift up our weary parents and the children who are worried about their futures. We lift up the needs of people and their lack of opportunity. We lift up our Church that struggles to know how to bring the peace of Jesus to the streets. We hope that a new fire will take hold from our baptismal waters even though our fonts are empty of water. I know there is fire in that font!

We pray in the Holy Spirit all the ways in which we can’t breathe because of grief, loss, and fear about our futures. We bring everything to God and ask for a new breath as face the ongoing fears of racism and violence in our culture and even the huge divides within our Church. Come, Holy Spirit, Come.

We bring in this celebration of Pentecost the needs of people. We need to understand foreign languages of peace and reconciliation. Let’s take seriously Psalm 104, “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.”

We may still be quarantined on Pentecost, but we are never alone as Church. Our prayer here and our prayer behind the locked doors of our homes are fire for the world. Jesus says to us, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Let us place our prayer in mouths of those who cannot breath. Let us breath deeply into the promise that God is with us forever and ever.

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

God give you peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 thought on “Pentecost Sunday 2020: JN 20:19-23, Homily, Prayers of the Faithful, Bulletin link

  1. I was one of the blest that was able to hear you proclaim the gospel and give your sermon in Sacred Heart Church yesterday. It was a blessing to be able to see and hear you in person.
    I missed the presence of the people that were not there. I missed the the singing and lifting of our voices in song and prayer. I believe Jesus new it was all in our hearts. I prayed for everything yesterday and today I await for what is to come. Thank you Father. I know this is not an easy time for priests and I pray for you each day. Come Holy Spirit and renew our hearts and set us on fire.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s