Receive the Holy Spirit

Feast of Pentecost

Today is the last Sunday of Easter time. Today we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, when we remember that the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples. It is also the beginning of the Church. All the readings today focus on the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church … it is the Holy Spirit which gave it life and it is the same Holy Spirit, who through his gifts, builds it and strengthens it. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we listen to the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of wind and fire. The disciples were locked up, they were afraid, when suddenly a great wind filled the room and tongues of fire appeared on each of them. They became full of courage, and they went outside to teach about Jesus. The Holy Spirit allowed everyone to understand them, even though they spoke different languages. This was the beginning of the Church. That day, many listened to the disciples, they began to believe, and they converted. 

In the second reading, St Paul emphasizes the role of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit, these are given to build and strengthen the body of Christ, of which we are also part. We all received these gifts, though not everyone receives the same ones. To this effect, we are all expected to use these gifts, for the good of the Church, and not for own personal gain. St Paul emphasizes that although we are all different, everyone is important, and he likens the members of the Church to the members of a human body, which function together in synergy. Everyone has gifts and particular talents, and these are necessary for the Church to be built completely. Everyone has a particular role to play, and no one can replace him. In the Church of Jesus, no one is an extra. The idea of one body, links well with the reading from the Acts of the Apostles, where the Holy Spirit permitted everyone to understand what the apostles were saying. Pentecost, therefore, reminds us, that although there is diversity within the Church, there is unity in belief. We need to pray to the Holy Spirit, to encourage us to serve others with our talents and in this way build and strengthen the Church.

The Gospel is from St John, and it tells of when Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to the apostles. This account is different from the one given in the Acts of the Apostles, but it should not trouble us. Jesus promised that he would not leave the apostles on their own. He was to send them help, and this Gospel, shows how Jesus kept his word. Jesus breaths on the apostles and gives them the Holy Spirit; this reminds us of the creation episode, when God breathed on man and gave him life. In this account, Jesus breathes on the apostles and gives them a new life, with the power of the Holy Spirit. 

In this Gospel we listen to Jesus giving peace to his friends, twice he tells them, “Peace be with you.” Then he continues to give them the Holy Spirit and speaks to them about forgiveness. We need the Holy Spirit to be at peace, and to ask for forgiveness, to receive forgiveness and to forgive others. Forgiveness and peace, go hand in hand. 

The Holy Spirit helps you to bring these gifts of forgiveness and peace to your children, and to your family. Do you ask your children to forgive you when you do wrong? Do you help them to forgive those who hurt them? How do you behave when they ask to be forgiven? Do you truly forgive them, or do you keep reminding them about what they did? How do you help them to be true friends?

The same Holy Spirit given to the apostles, is also given to us. He gives us courage to live as true Christians, to be witnesses of Jesus within our families and everywhere else. The Holy Spirit was not only given to us at Baptism and Confirmation. The Holy Spirit gives life, and if we allow him to work within us and through us, he will lead us to reach our best and be what God has planned for us.

A reading from the Gospel of John (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.”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel story is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. The doors were locked to keep everyone out, however all of a sudden, Jesus was in their midst. Jesus gives them his peace. Is there something which is keeping Jesus away from you? Are you closing some door for Jesus? Let him come in, because only Jesus can give you the peace you need. Turn to the Holy Spirit every time you are afraid, ask him to give you peace.
  4. When was the last time you went to confession? Do you believe that God forgives your sins? What does this mean to you? Remember that if we do not believe that God forgives us, we cannot forgive others or accept that others forgive us.
  5. Together with your family find the right time to read this Gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare;
    i. The Bible reading from St John (20, 19-23)
    ii. a candle
    iii. Cover the table with a red cloth
    iv. A computer/laptop with the reading and clips
  6. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested).
  7. Feel free to adapt to your situation
  8. Be creative 😊 
  9. Go to the Prayer Corner section to continue praying as a family. 

When is your birthday? What will you do on your birthday?

Today, it is the birthday of the Church, that is, many, many years ago, today, it was the beginning of the Church, of which we form part. The Church is not the building we enter when we go for mass or to pray; the Church is all those who are inside … that is the people. There are churches all over the world. The Church, therefore, is made up of all those who believe in Jesus, of those who love him and want to live like him.

The Church began after Jesus died. Jesus taught his friends; however, they were afraid to continue teaching the people, because they did not want the soldiers to capture them and kill them. But Jesus had promised that he would send them help. Today, we will hear about the help that Jesus sent, which gave them courage to go outside and teach the people about Jesus and God’s love.

  • The Holy Spirit helps us to be good children who love Jesus
  • A cake
  • Candles 
  • A red tablecloth

Who is the Holy Spirit? Every time we make the sign of the cross, we mention the Holy Spirit. Let us make the sign of the cross together: In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Although we cannot see the Holy Spirit, we need to pray to him, to help us make good choices. In the first reading, we heard how the apostles were all together in a room. They were afraid that they would be caught and killed, like Jesus. They wanted to teach the people, like Jesus, but they were too afraid. When the Holy Spirit descended upon them, they were no longer afraid, they went outside and started talking about Jesus.

The Holy Spirit helps us and gives us courage too. The Holy Spirit gives us the strength to say no to what is wrong. For example, we broke something, because we were careless, and played with the ball inside, when we knew that we should not have done that. We know that most probably our parents, would be angry with us and maybe also punish us. What will we do? Will we say the truth or a lie? The Holy Spirit helps us to say the truth.

Today we have something yummy! We have a cake because we are celebrating the birthday of the Church. However, this cake is also going to teach us something about the Holy Spirit. The cake is on a red tablecloth. This is the colour the priest wears today for the feast of Pentecost, it is the colour of the Holy Spirit. Red reminds us of love … we always colour hearts in red. The Holy Spirit not only loves us, but he also teaches us how to love others. The Holy Spirit helps us to do what is good; and when we do good, we will be showing love. There are candles on the cake. The candles are lit. What does the fire do? (it warms a place, it cooks, it burns). Fire too, is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. In the same way that a fire can destroy whole forests, the Holy Spirit can remove (destroy) all that is wrong. In winter, when it is cold, we all gather around the heater or fireplace. In the same way, the Holy Spirit, brings us closer to each other, so that we are all friends. Food is cooked to be good for eating, and the Holy Spirit helps us to do what is good.

How are we are going to blow out the candles? We need to blow on them or we need the wind to blow them out. We cannot see our breath or the wind, however we can see their effect, in this case, when we blow on the candles, they will not continue to burn. We cannot see the Holy Spirit either, but we can see his effect … every time that we do what is good, or we see someone else doing good, we will be seeing the power of the Holy Spirit in us and in others.
Enjoy eating the cake and remember to pray to the Holy Spirit each day, ask him to help you to be good children. Whilst eating the case, listen to, Holy Spirit fill me up.

Sign of the cross (make the sign of the cross slowly, so that you listen to yourself mentioning the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit)

Holy Spirit, help me to be more like Jesus. Help me to love my parents, brothers, sisters, and friends. Help me to do what is good, especially when I am finding it difficult to do so. Amen.

Today it is the end of Easter Time. Today it is the feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and gave them the courage to overcome all their fears. We listen to this story in the First Reading. In today’s Gospel, we hear how Jesus gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  • Not only the apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit, we too, receive this gift
  • A kite

In today’s Gospel, we heard how the apostles were locked up somewhere. Why did they do this?

Most probably they were afraid that the Roman soldiers would catch them and kill them, because they were friends of Jesus.

What did Jesus say, when he entered the room? (“Peace be with you.”)

The apostles needed this peace! When one is afraid, one is not at peace! Jesus knew that they were afraid, so that is why he gave them what they needed. However, Jesus also wanted them to continue the work that he had started. Jesus wanted his friends to continue teaching the people about God. But they could not do this, if they were locked up somewhere! Jesus told them, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And Jesus gave them special strength so that they could overcome their fear; they needed great courage.

(note to parents … act as if you cough in your children’s face without covering your mouth, and ask: “What happened? Why did you not like it when I coughed in your face?”)

We cover our mouths when we cough so that the germs do not pass on to others, germs are contagious. In today’s Gospel Jesus blows on the apostles. Jesus wanted them to become infected with what he had! It was the Holy Spirit who guided Jesus, who gave him the strength and the courage to teach, heal and suffer. Jesus wanted them to have this strength too, that is why he gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Some of you will soon receive the sacrament of Confirmation, others will receive it in the coming years. You will be learning more about the Holy Spirit and the gifts he gives us, the gift of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. If you wish to read more about these gifts of the Holy Spirit and his fruit, visit here.

For today’s activity, you have a kite. What does a kite have to do with the Holy Spirit?

What does the kite need? (wind)

Can we see the wind? (no)

Although we cannot see the wind, we can see its effect. A strong wind can break and uproot even big trees. If you are walking outside, the wind can push you and it tries to push you wherever it wants. In the same way, we cannot see the Holy Spirit, however, we can see his effect. The Holy Spirit is love; all the good that we see, is coming from the Holy Spirit. Every smile, every kind and helpful gesture, every joyful thing that happens to us, is coming from the Holy Spirit. Like the wind, that we cannot see, the Holy Spirit tries to push us in the direction that he wants, in the right direction.

If you are outside, and trying to fly the kite and you try to make it go against the wind, what will happen? The kite will fall to the ground. The kite is meant to fly in the sky, when it falls to the ground, it is not where it is meant to be. The same can be said for us. We were created to become the best version of ourselves. We can achieve this with the help of the Holy Spirit, so when we go against his wishes, we will be stepping back from becoming our best.

What do you think the Holy Spirit is asking you to do today?

Listen to the song, about the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We will have this fruit, when we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us.

Sign of the Cross

We will pray the Creed, where we show that we believe in the Holy Spirit.

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
 of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
 the Only Begotten Son of God,
 born of the Father before all ages.
 God from God, Light from Light,
 true God from true God,
 begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
 through him all things were made.
 For us men and for our salvation
 he came down from heaven,
 and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
 and became man.
 For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
 he suffered death and was buried,
 and rose again on the third day
 in accordance with the Scriptures.
 He ascended into heaven
 and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
 He will come again in glory
 to judge the living and the dead
 and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
 who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
 who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
 who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
 I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
 and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
 and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Coming soon.

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.