Above photograph: thanks to Matt Botsford
A few talking points have been included at the end of this week's liturgy. These look at the importance of language as it can be both a source of togetherness and a source of division.
A short video 'Pentecost in 2 minutes' from Busted Halo has also been added to this page. It is well worth a view.
There is also an interesting video on Pentecost and the Divinity of the Holy Spirit by Dr Brant Pitre.
Prayer liturgy for Pentecost Sunday - updated Friday, May 29
Reflection on the Gospel - Pentecost Sunday Year A (Acts 2:1-11; John 20:19-23)
Pentecost Sunday is often called the birthday of the Church. The earth itself features powerfully in the imagery associated with this feast: harvest, mountain, earthquake, thunder, fire. For the ancient Israelites, Pentecost (meaning ‘fiftieth’) was a harvest festival celebrated fifty days after the opening of the harvest. When the Jerusalem Temple was built, this harvest festival was transformed into a pilgrimage feast to celebrate the covenant that Israel had made with God on Mt Sinai.
Several decades after the death of Jesus, the early Christians reflected on their origins and chose this feast to mark the birth of God’s new covenant with God’s people. In today’s first reading (Acts 2:1-11), Luke tells the new Pentecost story in symbolic language that evokes the story of Moses and the people of Israel receiving God’s Law on Mt. Sinai. Just as God’s presence to Israel was marked by earthquake and thunder and fire, so God’s Spirit enveloping the people of the new covenant in the upper room appears in a mighty rush of wind and tongues of fire.
Luke’s account also evokes early rabbinic teaching that the voice of God on Sinai divided into seventy tongues and all the nations received God’s Law in their own tongue.
For the teaching at the heart of the new covenant, we turn to the gospel reading from John 20:19-23. The resurrected Christ appears to the disciples who are huddled behind locked doors. He offers the simple greeting: “Peace be with you,” the greeting we have been in the practice of offering each other with a simple gesture at every Eucharistic celebration-until Covid-19 challenged us to find other ways of communicating the peace of Christ.
Jesus sends his disciples on a mission of peace in continuity with his own God inspired mission. He breathes on them the gift of the Holy Spirit and tells them that God will forgive those whom they forgive, and will “retain” or “seize hold of” the transgressions of those whose sins or transgressions they “retain”. To seize hold of wrong-doing is to expose it and deal with it. Sometimes it is best to forgive and simply allow everyone to move on. In other situations, an easy amnesty only exacerbates the problem.
Much of the enduring conflict in our world derives from the inability of ordinary people and of both church and civic leaders to know how to deal with transgression. The Holy Spirit is the unique source of our capacity to deal with the perpetrators of violence. The Holy Spirit is likewise the source of our power to forgive, of our power to refrain from vengeance and our power to ensure restoration and healing.
In our times, the earth itself cries out for forgiveness, for restoration and for healing.
As we celebrate this feast of the Holy Spirit in a time of pandemic, we might consider engaging in a “values inventory” by looking at how much of our personal and collective resources we invest in the things that make for peace.
-Veronica Lawson RSM
We are moving
At the end of March we had to vacate our current Mass venue as our gathering time clashes with other planned events at Te Puru.
When Masses recommence after the Covid-19 emergency, our regular Saturday 5pm Mass will be held in St Hilda's Church, 3 Wakelin Rd, Beachlands.
We thank the local Anglican community for allowing us to use their facility.
Supporting our parish
As Fr John points out in his recent email, the parish needs your ongoing help financially to sustain its operations during this period. For those of you who support the parish with your Planned Giving Envelopes, and those of you who were used to contributing in the Sunday Collection at Mass, if you are able to assist for the present via online banking, our Parish Bank Account details are as follows:-
Bank of New Zealand
R C Bishop of Auckland, Howick Branch
Planned Giving Account
Account No: 02-0100-0120966-24
For parishioners who use the Planned Giving Envelopes and want to now give through online banking please ensure that your Surname is under the Particulars section and your Planned Giving number (if you give by this means and have a number) is under the Reference section on our bank statements. This will help us to keep track of your donations and enable us to make sure that your donation is recorded against your Planned Giving Number.
Caring Group to help our community
They'll know we are Christians by our love. And one way we can show our Christian love is to care for one another, especially in times of need or distress.
Several people have already volunteered their services to start the Group but we need more. We also need to know if there is anyone who needs help from the Caring Group. So, if you would like to be a volunteer who may be called upon from time to time please contact Glenis Clapham (ph: 09 536 6305) or Kathie McNabney (ph: 09 530 8130). If you need some help or know of someone from our community who needs help please let Glenis or Kathie know.
Have you considered joining the parish planned giving programme? No more searching through your purse or wallet at collection time. You will be provided with a set of envelopes which need only be placed in the basket with your donation inside. And best of all at the end of each tax year you will receive a statement of your contributions so you can make a claim on your tax return.
Why not join up now. Contact the parish office or follow the link below for further information. Ph 5348710
Download our free Android App here
Take us with you everywhere on your Android phone by clicking on the link and following instructions.
If you are an iPhone user I can show you how to create your own app for our website.
How giving a little can mean a lot
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
There are always people in need, sometimes long term, sometimes short term, sometimes in an emergency. The parish Food Bank, run by the Howick branch of the SVDP society, helps many families who find themselves in need of basic food items. Through supporting this we are putting into action the Church's principles of Social Justice: Human Dignity, Preferential Option for the Poor, the Common Good, Solidarity, Subsidiarity, Stewardship and Participation.
When you come to Mass at Beachlands try to bring one food item, a packet or can that can be added to the Food Bank, and place it in the basket on the table when you come in.
Giving a little can mean such a lot.
Please continue to keep Eileen Gallagher, John Clapham, Allan Saunders, Francis McNabney and other members of our community in your prayers.
John also asks us to pray for a breakthrough for treatment within New Zealand for neuroendocrine cancer.