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May 20, 1994     The Message
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May 20, 1994

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^9 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Commentary-- ' The return of Jesus: The giving of the spirit commentary for May Pentecost Sunday, gospel reading of the first Sunday, the disci- themselves in out of suddenly stood among greeted them with the alachem!" maning his WOunds of his crucifix- to see him. He alachem!" Then their mission. "As the so do I send you." Then Jesus and said: "Receive the Holy shall forgive, they are for- sins you shall retain, they are re- By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST L day the Church celebrates the coming Spirit to the disciples of Jesus. We than "apostles" nor Luke limit the giving or the 12 apostles. Only Luke an election to bring the number back to 12 of the Spirit, but when the Spirit description there are 120 people It may be interesting to read- connects the coming of the Spirit feast of Pentecost. For the Jews the a joyful festival celebrated on the offering to God of the first (barley) cut from the field. This offer- Passover time. Thus the cele- observed on the fiftieth day after us, it is the fiftieth day after Easter. The word "pentecost" is derived from the Greek ordinal number "pentecoste" meaning "fiftieth." Luke sets the coming of the Spirit to the Church on that Jew- ish festival. He must have had some reason for doing so. Either there was some stupendous event enlivening the disciples of Jesus on that day, or he did it for a sym- bolic reason. The symbolism may be that of harvest. Since the Jew- ish people connected this day with the first grain harvest, Luke may have thought this day particularly appropriate to show as fulfilled the words of Jesus in Luke 10:2, "The harvest is plen- tiful, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." With the coming of the Spirit the harvest begins immediately as Luke describes it in Acts of Apostles. When we cast doubt on the coming of the Spirit to the Church on the Jewish feast of Pente- cost we do so with good reason. The Gospel of John which we read today has the giving of the Spirit by Jesus to the disciples on the evening of the day of his resurrection. Luke's story in Acts of Apostles tells us that after Jesus rose from the dead, he remained with the disciples 40 days, as- cended to his Father, and 10 days later sent the Spirit; John, however, describes, the resurrection, ascension, return of Jesus, and giving of the Spirit all in one day. We may also point out that in Luke's first book, his gospel, He speaks of Jesus' resurrection and ascension to the Father on the same day. So even Luke has two different times for the ascension of Jesus. We are therefore on solid ground when we try to interpret the story of both Luke and John not as an historical event but as symbolic of a spiritual reality. The Holy Spirit of God does indeed rest upon and guide the Church. Both Luke and John want to teach that point to their readers and hearers, but they go about it very differently. Luke reaches back to the Sinai event, when God revealed himself to his people with an awesome display of nature including fire. Thus Luke speaks of the rush of a mighty wind and tongues of fire resting upon the gathered disci- ples. John thinks of a new creation throughout his gospel. He began his book with the same words with which the creation story began in Genesis, chapter one, "In the beginning." In Genesis 1:2 creation be- gins when the Spirit or breath of God moves over the waters. Thus John describes the breath or Spirit of God given to Jesus' disciples when Jesus breathes upon them and says: "Receive the Holy Spirit." Whatever the symbolism may be, something big happened to turn ordinary people into a dynamic group who were willing to face death to speak pub- licly about Jesus and their mission to continue his work. Some dynamic force seized them and changed them. We call that Force the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God is still at work today. Though most of us go about our work as Christians in a more quiet way, there are still among us people as full of zeal and en- thusiasm as the disciples in Luke's story. Perhaps we are more like the disciples in John's story. They didn't seem to do much about it after Jesus breathed the Spirit of God into them. They went fishing. Could we at least combine Luke and John in ourselves and go fishing for people with the forgiving love which Jesus on this day ordered his disciples to exercise? Readings: Acts 2:l.ll; 1 Corinthians 12:3. 7,12-13 Synod Continued from page 1 the chancellor, all members of the council will serve three year terms. After three years, new members will be selected. The guidelines proposed by the Synod Implementation Team are to be considered as the standard working document for the beginning of the Diocesan Pastoral Council -- but the council members may decide to make changes as they develop a Constitution and By-Laws. Names of people being nomi- nated for council membership must be submitted by July 5. The first meeting of the new council will be a weekend of orientation and recollection, August 12 -- 14. i ii Other concerns of the Synod Synod Motion 8.1 directed that eight additional issues raised during the synod plan- ning process be given to the Synod Implementation Team for further study, reflection and follow-up. Those eight is- sues are: expectations/role/sup- ply of priests, deacons and reli- gious; the role of women in the church today; healing and rec- onciliation; administration and management; justice; evange- lization-outreach; stewardship, and family. Synod Motion 8.2 directed that material prepared on the Council of Religious, Dia- conate, Commission on Women in Church and Society, Health Care Ministry Commission, and Social Concerns Commis- sion be given to the Synod Im- plementation Team or Dioce- san Pastoral Council for further study, reflection and action. At its last meeting, the Synod Implementation Team agreed that this issues and material mentioned in the mo- tions should be forwarded to the Diocesan Pastoral Council. Some of the concerns -- such as stewardship and family  have already been given atten- tion. The Office of Stewardship and Development will continue to lead efforts toward total stewardship. Family concerns are assigned to Catholic Charities. (Campbell) Hurst will celebrate their with a Mass of Thanksgiving of VOws May 22 at Holy Spirit Church, House, hosted by their children and , Will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. in the school requests no gifts. They were married are the parents of six children: Starr and Mary Davis, both of Evansville, I.. and Cynthia Pugh, both of Newburgh, Iiurstof Sturgis, Ky. Their son, George, have nine grandchildren. Mr. Hurst re- with Small and Schelosky Company in is a homemaker. U IN