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Youth Ministry Resources - Pentecost Sunday

Year A: John 20:19-23 - Pentecost Sunday

Once again we hear of the fear of the disciples who were hiding behind locked doors and it is handy reminder of how crippling fear makes us. When we are afraid we put up all kinds of barriers, physical and emotional and we no longer behave in a balanced manner. It is also possible to see how fear can drive the policies and decisions of the leadership of a country or a group of people.

There is no doubt that the Jews were afraid of Jesus because he was going to upset the way things were being managed and this fear prompted their actions to be rid of him. We see the same fear driving the North Korean decision to develop nuclear weapons; these are weapons capable of destroying whole countries, their vegetation along with their people. This is specialised and expensive research and comes at the cost of millions of North Koreans who are starving, particularly children.

Into this palpable fear comes Jesus whose first priority is to allay that fear by imparting his peace - a peace the world cannot give. The disciples 'know' that Jesus is dead and yet here is proof that the crucified one is in fact risen and all those indications Jesus had given prior to his death are not more understandable. It is interesting that when the disciples turn from fear to joy, Jesus repeats the same priority of imparting his peace.

It is also worth noting that John specifically uses the word 'disciples' - matherai, and not 'the Twelve' because John wants the words of Jesus to be directed to the whole believing community. The future of the Basileia or Reign of God was not to be left to Peter or the Beloved disciple, no Jesus clearly selects the whole community to receive the Holy Spirit and as a result the whole community will now represent Jesus in the world.

This whole community includes you and I because we have received the Holy Spirit firstly at our Baptism and again during Confirmation. This means that we have received any number of gifts from God to use as part of our commissioning to bring God's presence into our world. We are asked to be the ones who bring reconciliation and peace into all of our relationships, in fact God's peace should be a part of everything we do from a simple exchange on the bus or in the supermarket to the way we speak to our work colleagues and especially to our family, extended family, friends, neighbours and also those who make it a little harder to love them. Peace be with you.

Cate Mapstone

YOUTH ANGLE: As the Father has sent me, so I send you.

Jesus gave the teaching, showed the love, demonstrated the reaching out and talked about peace. He had walked the earth and suffered pain and betrayal, laughed, cried, celebrated, listened, enjoyed the company of others and did all he could to share the possibility of the kingdom of God with people. After that, his time was up and he was leaving. And he instructs his disciples to carry on the task: to do as he did and to continue his work. As the Father sent him, so he sent them, and so, he is sending us.

Each time we go to mass we have the opportunity to listen to God's words and hear about Jesus' example so that at the end of it we can be sent out too. Have you noticed how mass ends with the words "Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord" ? It's like today's Gospel. We're given peace, as Jesus gave his followers peace. And then we are sent - we are told to GO to "love and serve the Lord". For the next week - or whatever length of time it is before you return to mass - we are to live God's word, spread God's love and serve God's people. And as we arrive at mass the next time we may ask ourselves: have we done that?

Manuela Macri

Year C: Pentecost Sunday

There is so much Scripture available to us for this special feast of Pentecost. Usually I write about the meaning for us in each week's Gospel. Today my focus will be on the reading from Acts 2:1-11 because it is the only account in the Scriptures of the first manifestation of the Holy Spirit. It is a reading that also causes some palpitations with Readers because of all the countries and cities to be named. There was a large gathering of people in Jerusalem because Pentecost is the Jewish feast of Sabu 'ot a commemoration of all the covenants, from Noah to Sinai and is fifty days after Passover (pentecost is Greek for 50). So Christians see the feast of Pentecost as a new covenant and the birth of the Church. This the turning point for the followers of Christ. These are the same people who locked themselves together in a room. These are the same people who were frightened and confused.

For people already filled with fear, the event of "powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appear to them that seemed like tongues of fire" would have created even more fear. What a difficult experience to try and explain. At Pentecost, the Spirit made the disciples open the locked doors and were without fear. They went out to the people to tell the Good News - this was a public event, a time for the witnesses to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ, to speak up publicly. We have also received the Holy Spirit so we are now disciples of Christ. It is through the gift of the Holy Spirit that we become aware that God wants to communicate love to us. Our God is a relational God who waits patiently for us to stop in our busy day and become aware of God's presence in our lives. We may not have the gift of tongues, but we do have the gifts of the Holy Spirit so feel free to speak up "in your own language about the marvels of God."

Cate Mapstone

Youth Ministry Resources Pentecost Sunday
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Youth Ministry Resources Pentecost Sunday