PODCAST – Sunday Readings

PDF Handout – Gospel Text (English/Spanish)

This handout which can be downloaded, printed, and used in your ministry is provided by Bishop David O’Connell (Los Angeles Archdiocese)

Click to access Pentecost-Sunday-Year-B-May-23-2021-EngSp.pdf

YouTube player
Catholic Productions

This I command you…

In the Gospel of John, chapter 15, Jesus teaches that if we do not produce good works, we will be separated from him and thrown into the fire. And, that if we do bear fruit, we will be pruned in order to bear more fruit. Check out the video above with Dr. Brant Pitre to learn more about this topic and the implications of what Jesus is teaching.


As the Father sent me, so I send you

Gospel: John 20:19-23
  • The Gospel reading portrays the timeless events of Jesus’ resurrection and the descent of the Spirit.

  • Jesus breathes on the disciples, creating them anew, and proclaims the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • Filled with the Spirit, the disciples continue to spread new life and remedy the separation caused by sin as they forgive sins.
SOURCE: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor

There are different gifts, but the same Spirit.

Reading II : 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13
  • In I Corinthians, Paul describes the unity of Christians who are filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • They are one body, breathing with the same breath.
  • The gifts of each contribute to the life of the whole.
SOURCE: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor

All were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Reading I : Acts 2:1-11
  • In the Acts of the Apostles, the story of Pentecost occurs on the fiftieth day after Passover, the day after seven Sabbaths.
  • The strong wind recalls the might wind that swept over the waters at creation and the breath of life that God blew into the human being.
  • The tongues of fire at Pentecost symbolize a new call and a new covenant.
SOURCE: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor

Catholic Commentaries

Navarre Bible
Commentary on Sunday's Readings (PDF)

Click to access pentecost-b.pdf

Sources include The Jerome Biblical Commentary, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, and The Navarre Bible. In addition, Church History by Laux (TAN Books), Introduction to the Bible by Laux (TAN Books), A Guide to the Bible by Fuentes (Four Courts Press), and Sharing Our Biblical Story by Russell for background information. We also included quotations from The Faith of the Early Fathers (3 volumes) by Jergens and Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (many volumes) edited by Odum.
SOURCE: Bible study program at St. Charles Borromeo (Picayune, MS) courtesy of Military Archdiocese.
Raymond E. Brown

An Introduction to the New Testament

The Pentecost Scene; Peter’s Sermon (2:1–36)

Four Scenes in Jerusalem: Inside a Room (Jn 20:19–29)

Ave Maria Press

Catholic Scripture: A Catholic Study of God’s Word

Forming a Church

PDF Handouts/Bulletin Inserts
Edrianne Ezell

Click to access guide-052321-pentecost.pdf

©2021 Our Sunday Readings. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
Fr. Clement D. Thibodeau
Fr. Eamon Tobin

Click to access Pentecost%20B%202021.pdf

©2020 Ascension Parish. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
Catholic Climate Covenant
Vince Contreras / Don Schwager

Click to access 4a6582_e01bd9a653d6407db90c7a48dde461a5.pdf

©2020 Ascension Parish. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

The Spirit Empowers the Church for its Mission

EXCERPT: Here, as in Acts, the Spirit empowers the Church for its mission (“even so I send you”). The mission is defined here, however, not as kerygma but as the forgiving and retaining of sins. The traditional Catholic and High Anglican interpretation of this has seen it as a reference to the sacrament of penance, but this is probably an anachronism as far as the evangelist is concerned.

In the New Testament, forgiveness of sins is baptismal language (see Lk 24:47), and what we have here is the Johannine version of the tradition, which includes in the appearance stories the command to baptize… If our new interpretation be sustained, it is significant that both the Second Reading and the Gospel speak of baptism, for in patristic times Pentecost was the day when those who for some reason had missed their baptism at Easter were baptized.


Visit for more resources to help you reflect on the spirituality of the scriptures before Mass.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit From the Father and the Son

After the Resurrection, Jesus taught the Church for forty days until His Ascension into His Father’s heavenly Kingdom (Acts 1:3).  At that event, Jesus instructed the Apostles and disciples to return to Jerusalem and to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit, telling them: John baptized with water but, not many days from now, you are going to be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5).  The Apostles and the disciples were obedient to Jesus’ command.  They prayed together as one community with the Virgin Mary with one petition for nine days, for God to send His Spirit, until the tenth day that was fifty days after Christ’s Resurrection.

The fiftieth day was the first day of the week (our Sunday) and the Jewish feast of Pentecost which commemorated the birth of the Old Covenant Church at Mt. Sinai.  On the Feast of Pentecost in AD 30, God the Holy Spirit baptized and indwelled the 120 New Covenant people of God praying in the Upper Room in Jerusalem (Acts 1:15).  He gave them the gift of the one language, the Gospel of salvation, to unite all peoples of the world.  His gift removed the curse of the confusion of tongues and the separation of the peoples of the earth in the judgment of the nations in the Tower of Babel, bring humanity back into one family that had been torn asunder at Babel (Acts 1:13-15; 2:1-11; Gen 11:1-9).

SOURCE: Michal E. Hunt at Agape Bible Study; used with permission.
Acts 2:1-11

The Holy Spirit Gives Birth to the Church at Pentecost

On the day of the second great Pentecost (the first great Pentecost was the Theophany of God at Mt. Sinai and God’s covenant formation with Israel) God reversed the sin that caused the scattering of the family of man across the face of the earth in the event of the Tower of Babel:

Tower of Babel 2nd Great Pentecost
Language is used to promote a human agenda (Gen 11:3-4). Language is used to announce the mighty works of God (Acts 2:14-41).
God causes the confusion of tongues into many different languages (Gen 11:7). God causes people speaking many different languages to understand one Gospel message (Acts 2:5-11).
The result is disunity (Gen 11:6-7). The result is unity (Acts 2:41).
At the Tower of Babel God scattered the human family across the face of the earth in judgment (Gen 11:9). Pentecost is the beginning of the reunification of the family of mankind as God sends men and women to gather into the New Covenant Church of Jesus Christ a redeemed people from across the face of the earth (Acts 1:8; 2:37-41).
SOURCE: Michal E. Hunt at Agape Bible Study; used with permission.
Galatians 5:16-25

The Fruits of the Spirit

In this passage, St. Paul continues his discourse on the freedom of the Gospel (Gal 5:13) by elaborating on how Jesus calls Christians to fulfill the Law of the Gospel in love of neighbor (5:14-15) by walking in the Spirit (5:16-26).  Paul contrasts “works of the flesh” in verses 19-21 with “fruits of the Spirit” (not “works” of the Spirit) in verses 22-23.  It is the Holy Spirit and not the old Law of the Sinai Covenant that leads one to such positive living.

Lists of vices and virtues were common in philosophical works of the ancient world, and Paul also offered them in Romans 1:29-31 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.  Paul writes that the “flesh,” or human desires, is at war with the call of the Holy Spirit for the Christian to live in righteousness that produces the positive “fruit” of the attributes in verses 22-23.  His dire warning is that those who submit to the sins of the flesh “will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”  However, those who “have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires” and belong to Christ are living “in the Spirit,” and the Spirit will lead them into eternal beatitude.

SOURCE: Michal E. Hunt at Agape Bible Study; used with permission.
John 20:19-23

The Apostles Receive the Holy Spirit

23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.

The Sacraments of the Church are visible signs instituted by Christ to confer grace.  Jesus is instituting the Sacrament of Penance [Reconciliation].  Under the Old Covenant, the sinner placed his hands on the animal offered in sacrifice, confessed his sins before the priest, and the animal died in his place.  Now Christ is the Lamb of sacrifice, but we still must have confession and repentance before the forgiveness of sins and the restoration of friendship and communion.

In verses 22-23, the priests of the New Covenant carry the Son of God’s authority to forgive or retain sins.  The concept of private confession of wrong-doings has never been a part of the sacramental system of the Old or New Covenants. Even though it is a healthy spiritual practice to confess our shortcomings to God in our daily prayers, it is necessary to bring those venial sins (unintentional sins) before the Lord in the Penitential Rite of the Mass to receive forgiveness in the Eucharist.  We must confess any mortal sins to an ordained priest of the New Covenant Church who is a successor of the first ministerial priesthood in Christ, as though we are confessing to Christ Himself (CCC 1393-9514141436145718462042).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that Jesus is the physician of our souls and our bodies.  He healed the sick and forgave their sins, and He has willed His Church, in the power of God the Holy Spirit, to continue His work of healing and salvation.  In the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Penance, the sinner places himself before the merciful judgment of God who heals and purifies hearts and souls.  CCC#1422: “Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion.”  Also see CCC# 1423-1498.

SOURCE: Michal E. Hunt at Agape Bible Study; used with permission.
Niell Donavan

Sermon Writer Exegesis

First Reading

Second Reading

Gospel Reading

SOURCE: Richard Niell Donavan, a Disciples of Christ clergyman, published SermonWriter from 1997 until his death in 2020. His wife Dale has graciously kept his website online. A subscription is no longer required.
Feasting on the GOSPELS

Examples of Christians Today who Hide behind Closed Doors

There are Christians today who hide behind closed doors in fear. Egyptian Christians routinely experience violence from their neighbors, as do Christians in Iraq. Although most people in North America do not live in fear of religious authorities or reprisals from outsiders for their Christian confessions, there are other fears that haunt them.

    • Some preachers fear telling what they believe to be the truth about ecclesiastical or social controversies because they have reason to think their congregations would fire them.
    • Some church people fear the loss of close friends or family if they do the same.
    • Others fear discovery of their sexual orientations or political or social or theological convictions.

In response to the disciples’ fears, Jesus bestows peace. This is not the first time he has done so. In the Farewell Discourse he twice refers to peace.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (14:27).

“I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” (16:33).

SOURCE: Content taken from FEASTING ON THE GOSPELS. All rights reserved.

Church Unity

1 Corinthians 12:1–31: This particular chapter can be of great help to Christians and churches today in their effort to build unity within the fellowship. We see all around us in the world the principle of which Paul speaks. We go to an athletic event where there are several players on one team. And while they have different positions to play and differing skills, that very fact is the source of their unity and the thing that makes it possible for them to play the game. The same is true when we go to the symphony. There is great variety in the instruments played and the skills required of the players, but all those instruments and all those different musicians create a musical unity as they give a concert.

But often in the church we have a tendency to seek unity in conformity. Rather than encouraging each person’s uniqueness we often discourage it. In many churches this quest for uniformity is not satisfied with loyalty to the pastor and staff and faithfulness to all the activities, but often there is an effort to get all the members to think alike on all issues. While there is a certain short-term efficiency in any authoritarian approach to leadership, in the long run it is self-defeating because it does not recognize the giftedness of each member of the church. The kind of unity God wants comes from the exercising of those gifts. As Paul writes to the Corinthians about their gifts, we can learn from his letter valuable lessons for ourselves and for the church today.

SOURCE: The Preacher’s Commentary, Complete 35-Volume Set: Genesis–Revelation offers pastors, teachers, and Bible study leaders clear and compelling insights into the entire Bible that will equip them to understand, apply, and teach the truth in God’s Word.

Wind and Fire

The Spirit is associated here with two symbols that often symbolized the manifestation of the presence of God. In Ezekiel’s vision of the valley filled with dry bones, the life-giving breath of God comes as a wind and makes these dead bodies live again (Ezek. 37:1–14). This prophecy is linked to the new covenant promise of the indwelling Spirit (Ezek. 37:14). Alluding to Ezekiel’s vision, Jesus himself described the coming Holy Spirit as a wind (John 3:8).

During the period of the Exodus, God appeared to Moses as fire. When the Lord revealed himself to Moses the first time, it was in a burning bush (Ex. 3:2–5). God called Moses to be his agent for rescuing the people of Israel from their bondage in Egypt and assured Moses of his enabling presence. After the Exodus, God appeared to Moses again on Mount Sinai. The Lord “descended on it in fire” and gave the law to Moses (Ex. 19:18).

With both the wind and the fire, Luke is careful to point out that the coming of the Spirit was like these two common natural phenomena. There was no actual wind or fire. Violent wind and fire represent powerful forces; a divine wind bringing life and fire from above suggests the empowering presence of God.

The image of tongues is probably meant to convey both the miraculous speaking in other languages that the disciples were about to accomplish as well as the ability the Spirit would provide to proclaim the gospel with power.

SOURCE: Zondervan Illustrated BIBLE Backgrounds COMMENTARY SET (4-Volume Set), 2019.
Africa Study Bible

Speaking the Heart Language

Important ideas are better said and heard in one’s heart language. Africans believe that we rejoice best and mourn best in our mother tongue, our heart language. People involved in Bible translation agree with this.

Many years ago, many African people were fighting colonial masters who were predominantly white and could not speak the native language. In a remote African village, the war boys came to kill a white missionary lady. When they surrounded her house and were about to torch it, she came out and addressed them in their native language. The war boys were confused. “Her skin is different, but she speaks our ‘heart,’ ” they said. She was spared.

“Are these not Galileans speaking our native language?” the foreigners gathered at Pentecost said. When the gospel is presented to people in their mother tongue, it makes an impact. It does not matter how loudly you preach or teach. It does not matter if you preach through an interpreter. Your message will not have the same impact if it does not connect with the heart language of the people. As much as we can, we need to reach out to people in the language that they can understand best.

SOURCE: Africa Study BIble
Feasting on the Word

Behind Closed Doors

A chronic temptation for the church is to stay behind closed doors… Behind this door are found the personal, spiritual, and familial dilemmas that occupy humans in their private existence.

On the other side of that door stand the public and social worlds that occupy humans when they venture forth from “home.” Beyond that door are found the economic, political, and civic realities that occupy people most of their waking hours. Here the gospel’s promise is scarcely acknowledged or, if glimpsed, is deemed out of place…

The commission to contend with sin as it afflicts and affects the world is the wedge that holds the door open to the public domain for the church in the present. Otherwise the church might rest content with its prior history of mission whereby it shared the peace of Christ behind the closed door of the personal and private, even as it reached around the world.

But sin that threatens the power of good with the countervailing force of evil operates without deference to the private/public distinction. The missionary people engendered by this peace and this inbreathed Holy Spirit are sent wherever the battle lines are drawn—whether in the midst of family illness and distress or in the turmoil of economic injustice. The missionary people empowered by this peace and this inbreathed Holy Spirit bear the forgiving, transforming love of God into every sphere of human experience.

SOURCE: Content taken from FEASTING ON THE WORD, YEAR B (12 Volume Set); David L. Bartlett (Editor); Copyright © 2011. Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved.

Year B: Gospel of Mark

Mark: Christ Centered Exposition Commentary

Mark: A Reader-Response Commentary

Mark: A Theme Based Approach

Bible Study Apps

Verbum Catholic Bible Software

TecartaBible Premium is a subscription service that offers unlimited access to the most popular Study Bibles, Commentaries, and Devotionals.

Olive Tree Bible Software

Catena Aurea

John 20:19-25

19. Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

20. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

21. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

22. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

23. Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

24. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

25. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

Annotated index of Church Fathers used in commentary

Third Century

  • Origen – Alexandrian biblical critic, exegete, theologian, and spiritual writer; analyzed the Scriptures on three levels: the literal, the moral, and the allegorical
  • Cyprian – pagan rhetorician converted to Christianity; acquired acquired a profound knowledge of the Scriptures and the writings of Tertullian; elected bishop of Carthage; martyred in 258

Fourth Century

  • Eusebius – Bishop of Caesarea; author of Ecclesiastical History, the principal source for the history of Christianity from the Apostolic Age till his own day; also wrote a valuable work on Biblical topography called the Onomasticon
  • Athanasius – Bishop of Alexandria; attended the Council of Nicea; opposed Arianism, in defence of the faith proclaimed at Nicaea—that is, the true deity of God the Son
  • Hilary – Bishop of Poitiers; the earliest known writer of hymns in the Western Church; defended the cause of orthodoxy against Arianism; became the leading Latin theologian of his age
  • Gregory of Nazianzus – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; a great influence in restoring the Nicene faith and leading to its final establishment at the Council of Constantinople in 381
  • Gregory of Nyssa – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Nyssa; took part in the Council of Constantinople
  • Ambrose – Bishop of Milan; partly responsible for the conversion of Augustine; author of Latin hymns; it was through his influence that hymns became an integral part of the liturgy of the Western Church
  • Jerome – biblical scholar; devoted to a life of asceticism and study; his greatest achievement was his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate); also wrote many biblical commentaries
  • Nemesius – Christian philosopher; Bishop of Emesa in Syria
  • Augustine – Bishop of Hippo (in northern Africa); a “Doctor of the Church”; most famous work is his Confessions; his influence on the course of subsequent theology has been immense
  • Chrysostom – Bishop of Constantinople; a “Doctor of the Church”; a gifted orator; his sermons on Gen, Ps, Isa, Matt, John, Acts, and the Pauline Epistles (including Hebrews) established him as the greatest of Christian expositors
  • Prosper of Aquitaine – theologian; supporter of Augustinian doctrines; closely associated with Pope Leo I (“the Great”)
  • Damasus – pope; active in suppressing heresy
  • Apollinaris of Laodicea – Bishop of Laodicea; close friend of Athanasias; vigorous advocate of orthodoxy against the Arians
  • Amphilochius of Iconium – Bishop of Iconium; close friend of the Cappadocian Fathers; defended the full Divinity of the Holy Spirit

Fifth Century

  • Asterius of Amasea – Arian theologian; some extant homilies on the Psalms attributed to him
  • Evagrius Ponticus – spiritual writer; noted preacher at Constantinople; spent the last third of his life living a monastic life in the desert
  • Isidore of Pelusium – an ascetic and exegete; his extant correspondence contains much of doctrinal, exegetical, and moral interest
  • Cyril of Alexandria – Patriarch of Alexandria; contested Nestorius; put into systematic form the classical Greek doctrines of the Trinity and of the Person of Christ
  • Maximus of Turin – Bishop of Turin; over 100 of his sermons survive
  • Cassion (prob. Cassian) – one of the great leaders of Eastern Christian monasticism; founded two monasteries near Marseilles; best known books the Institutes and the Conferences
  • Chrysologus – Bishop of Ravenna; a “Doctor of the Church”
  • Basil “the Great” – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Caesarea; responsible for the Arian controversy’s being put to rest at the Council of Constantinople
  • Theodotus of Ancyra – Bishop of Ancyra; wrote against the teaching of Nestorius
  • Leo the Great – Pope who significantly consolidated the influence of the Roman see; a “Doctor of the Church”; his legates defended Christological orthodoxy at the Council of Chalcedon
  • Gennadius – Patriarch of Constantinople; the author of many commentaries, notably on Genesis, Daniel, and the Pauline Epistles
  • Victor of Antioch – presbyter of Antioch; commentator and collector of earlier exegetical writings
  • Council of Ephesus – declared the teachings of Nestorious heretical, affirming instead the unity between Christ’s human and divine natures
  • Nilus – Bishop of Ancyra; disciple of St John Chrysostom; founder of a monastery; conducted a large correspondence influencing his contemporaries; his writings deal mainly with ascetic and moral subjects

Sixth Century

  • Dionysius Areopagita (aka Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite) – mystical theologian; combined Neoplatonism with Christianity; the aim of all his works is the union of the whole created order with God
  • Gregory the Great – Pope; a “Doctor of the Church”; very prolific writer of works on practical theology, pastoral life, expositions of Job, sermons on the Gospels, etc.
  • Isidore – Bishop of Seville; a “Doctor of the Church”; concerned with monastic discipline, clerical education, liturgical uniformity, conversion of the Jews; helped secure Western acceptance of Filioque clause
  • Eutychius (Patriarch of Constan­tinople) – consecrated the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople; defended the Chalcedonian faith against an unorthodox sect; became controversial later in life
  • Isaac (Bp. of Nineveh) (aka Isaac the Syrian) – monastic writer on ascetic subjects
  • Severus (Bp. of Antioch) – Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch; the leading theologian of the moderate Monophysites
  • John Climacus – ascetic and writer on the spiritual life; later Abbot of Mt. Sinai; best known for his Ladder of Divine Ascent which treats of the monastic virtues and vices
  • Fulgentius – Bishop of Ruspe in N. Africa; scholarly disposition; follower of St. Augustine; wrote many treatises against Arianism and Pelagianism

Seventh Century

  • Maximus ( of Constantinople, 645.) – Greek theologian; prolific writer on doctrinal, ascetical, exegetical, and liturgical subjects

Eighth Century

  • Bede (131CESK) – “the Venerable Bede”; a “Doctor of the Church”; pedagogue, biblical exegete, hagiographer, and historian, the most influential scholar from Anglo-Saxon England
  • John Damascene – Greek theologian; a “Doctor of the Church”; defender of images in the Iconoclastic Controversy; expounded the doctrine of the perichoresis (circumincession) of the Persons of the Trinity
  • Alcuin – Abbot of St. Martin’s (Tours); a major contributor to the Carolingian Renaissance; supervised the production of several complete editions of the Bible; responsible for full acceptance of the Vulgate in the West

Ninth Century

  • Haymo (of Halberstadt) – German Benedictine monk who became bishop of Halberstadt; prolific writer
  • Photius (of Constantinople) – Patriarch of Constantinople; a scholar of wide interests and encyclopedic knowledge; his most important work, Bibliotheca, is a description of several hundred books (many now lost), with analyses and extracts; also wrote a Lexicon
  • Rabanus Maurus – Abbot of Fulda in Hess Nassau; later Archbishop of Mainz; wrote commentaries on nearly every Book of the Bible
  • Remigius (of Auxerre) – monk, scholar, and teacher
  • Paschasius Radbertus – Carolingian theologian; wrote commentaries on Lamentations and Matthew, as well as the first doctrinal monograph on the Eucharist, he maintained the real Presence of Christ

Eleventh Century

  • Theophylact – Byzantine exegete; his principal work, a series of commentaries on several OT books and on the whole of the NT except Revelation, is marked by lucidity of thought and expression and closely follows the scriptural text
  • Anselm – Archbishop of Canterbury; a “Doctor of the Church”; highly regarded teacher and spiritual director; famous ontological argument for the existence of God as “that than which nothing greater can be thought”
  • Petrus Alphonsus – Jewish Spanish writer and astronomer, a convert to Christianity; one of the most important figures in anti-Judaic polemics
  • Laufranc (prob. Lanfranc) – Archbishop of Canterbury; commented on the Psalms and Pauline Epistles; his biblical commentary passed into the Glossa Ordinaria
The Catena Aurea (Golden Chain) is Thomas Aquinas’ compilation of Patristic commentary on the Gospels. It seamlessly weaves together extracts from various Church Fathers.


CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvi) The disciples, when they heard what Mary told them, were obliged either to disbelieve, or, if they believed, to grieve that He did not count them worthy to have the sight of Him. He did not let them however pass a whole day in such reflections, but in the midst of their longing trembling desires to see Him, presented Himself to them: Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews.

BEDE. Wherein is shewn the infirmity of the Apostles. They assembled with doors shut, through that same fear of the Jews, which had before scattered them: Came Jesus, and stood in the midst. He came in the evening, because they would be the most afraid at that time.

THEOPHYLACT. Or because He waited till all were assembled: and with shut doors, that he might shew how that in the very same way he had risen again, i. e. with the stone lying on the scpulchre.

AUGUSTINE. (Serm. cx. et cl. Pasch. aliquid simile.) Some are strongly indisposed to believe this miracle, and argue thus: If the same body rose again, which hung upon the Cross, how could that body enter through shut doors? But if thou comprehendest the mode, it is no miracle: when reason fails, then is faith edified.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxx) The shut door did not hinder the body, wherein Divinity resided. He could enter without open doors, who was born without a violation of His mother’s virginity.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvi) It is wonderful that they did not think him a phantom. But Mary had provided against this, by the faith she had wrought in them. And He Himself too shewed Himself so openly, and strengthened their wavering minds by His voice: And saith unto them, Peace he unto you, i. e. Be not disturbed. Wherein too He reminds them of what He had said before His crucifixion; My peace I give to you; (c. 14:27; 16:33) and again, In Me ye shall have peace.

GREGORY. (Hom. xxvi. in Evang.) And because their faith wavered even with the material body before them, He shewed them His hands and side: And when He had said this, He shewed them His hands and His side.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxxi) The nails had pierced His hands, the lance had pierced His side. For the healing of doubting hearts, the marks of the wounds were still preserved.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvi) And what He had promised before the crucifixion, I shall see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, is now fulfilled: Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord.

AUGUSTINE. (de Civ. Dei.) The glory, wherewith the righteous shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father, i. e. in Christ’s body, we must believe to have been rather veiled than not to have been there at all. He accommodated His presence to man’s weak sight, and presented Himself in such form, as that His disciple could look at and recognise Him.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvi) All these things brought them to a most confident faith. As they were in endless war with the Jews, He says again, Then said Jesus unto them again, Peace be unto you.

BEDE. A repetition is a confirmation: whether He repeats it because the grace of love is twofold, or because He it is who made of twain one.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvi. 3) At the same time He shews the efficacy of the cross, by which He undoes all evil things, and gives all good things; which is peace. To the women above there was announced joy; for that sex was in sorrow, and had received the curse, In sorrow shalt thou bring forth. (Gen. 3:16) All hindrances then being removed, and every thing made straight, (πατωρθωται.) he adds, As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.

GREGORY. (Hom. xxii. in Evang.) The Father sent the Son, appointed Him to the work of redemption. He says therefore, As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you; i. e. I love you, now that I send you to persecution, with the same love wherewith My Father loved Me, when He sent Me to My sufferings.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxxi) We have learnt that the Son is equal to the Father: here He shews Himself Mediator; He Me, and I you.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvi. 2) Having then given them confidence by His own miracles, and appealing to Him who sent Him, He uses a prayer to the Father, but of His own authority gives them power: And when He had said thus, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.

AUGUSTINE. (iv. de Trin. c. xx) That corporeal breath was not the substance of the Holy Ghost, but to shew, by meet symbol, that the Holy Ghost proceeded not only from the Father, but the Son. For who would be so mad as to say, that it was one Spirit which He gave by breathing, and another which He sent after His ascension?

GREGORY. (Hom. xxvi.) But why is He first given to the disciples on earth, and afterwards sent from heaven? Because there are two commandments of love, to love God, and to love our neighbour. The spirit to love our neighbour is given on earth, the spirit to love God is given from heaven. As then love is one, and there are two commandments; so the Spirit is one, and there are two gifts of the Spirit. And the first is given by our Lord while yet upon earth, the second from heaven, because by the love of our neighbour we learn how to arrive at the love of God.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvi) Some say that by breathing He did not give them the Spirit, but made them meet to receive the Spirit. For if Daniel’s senses were so overpowered by the sight of the Angel, how would they have been overwhelmed in receiving that unutterable gift, if He had not first prepared them for it! It would not be wrong however to say that they received then the gift of a certain spiritual power, not to raise the dead and do miracles, but to remit sins: Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. cxxi. 3) The love of the Church, which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, remits the sins of those who partake of it; but retains the sins of those who do not. Where then He has said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, He instantly makes mention of the remission and retaining of sins.

GREGORY. (Hom. xxvi.) We must understand that those who first received the Holy Ghost, for innocence of life in themselves, and preaching to a few others, received it openly after the resurrection, that they might profit not a few only, but many. The disciples who were called to such works of humility, to what a height of glory are they led! Lo, not only have they salvation for themselves, but are admitted1 to the powers of the supreme Judgment-seat; so that, in the place of God, they retain some men’s sins, and remit others. Their place in the Church, the Bishops now hold; who receive the authority to bind, when they are admitted to the rank of government. Great the honour, but heavy the burden of the place. It is ill if one who knows not how to govern his own life, shall be judge of another’s.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvi. 4) A priest though he may have ordered well his own life, yet, if he have not exercised proper vigilance over others, is sent to hell with the evil doers. Wherefore, knowing the greatness of their danger, pay them all respect, even though they be not men of notable goodness. For they who are in rule, should not be judged by those who are under them. And their incorrectness of life will not at all invalidate what they do by commission from God. For not only cannot a priest, but not even angel or archangel, do any thing of themselves; the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost do all. The priest only furnishes the tongue, and the hand. For it were not just that the salvation of those who come to the Sacraments in faith, should be endangered by another’s wickedness. (Hom. lxxxvii. 1). At the assembly of the disciples all were present but Thomas, who probably had not returned from the dispersion: But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

ALCUIN. Didymus, double or doubtful, because he doubted in believing: Thomas, depth, because with most sure faith he penetrated into the depth of our Lord’s divinity.

GREGORY. (Hom. xxvi.) It was not an accident that that particular disciple was not present. The Divine mercy ordained that a doubting disciple should, by feeling in his Master the wounds of the flesh, heal in us the wounds of unbelief. The unbelief of Thomas is more profitable to our faith, than the belief of the other disciples; for, the touch by which he is brought to believe, confirming our minds in belief, beyond all question.

BEDE. But why does this Evangelist say that Thomas was absent, when Luke writes that two disciples on their return from Emmaus found the eleven assembled? We must understand that Thomas had gone out, and that in the interval of his absence, Jesus came and stood in the midst.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxxvii. 1) As to believe directly, (ἁπλῶς) and any how, is the mark of too easy a mind, so is too much enquiring of a gross one: and this is Thomas’s fault. For when the Apostle said, We have seen the Lord, he did not believe, not because he discredited them, but from an idea of the impossibility of the thing itself: The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. Being the grossest of all, he required the evidence of the grossest sense, viz. the touch, and would not even believe his eyes: for he does not say only, Except I shall see, but adds, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side.

SOURCE: eCatholic 2000 Commentary in public domain.
First Reading

God’s Spirit empowers

Acts 2:3
Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.

New Living Translation (Hover cursor above the scripture reference to read the NRSV version)

Acts 2:1-4 On the day of Pentecost, the disciples obeyed Jesus and waited in Jerusalem. Suddenly the Holy Spirit manifested his presence by sound (wind), sight (fire), and speech (new languages). The believers were filled with the Holy Spirit, and God’s renewing power began its work of transforming them from the inside out. This marked a new era in history as God’s powerful presence entered the hearts of all believers. God’s powerful presence can still indwell us, transforming our life and healing our wounds. As we trust God, his Spirit empowers us in recovery.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.


God control and care

Psalm 104:34
May all my thoughts be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.

Ps 104:27-35 God controls the destinies of all beings; every living being depends on him for food and life. We need to realize that if we withdraw ourself from God’s presence, from his control and care, we are without hope, just as the natural world would be without hope if God should withdraw himself from it.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

Second Reading

Everything necessary for a successful recovery

Galatians 5:24
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.

Gal 5:22-24 These qualities are produced by the Holy Spirit’s work in a life submitted to God. Just as a tree bears fruit by means of God’s silent work in nature, we experience these fruits of the Spirit by means of God’s power alone. Our part is to entrust our life to him. When the Holy Spirit begins to bear these fruits in our life, our dependency loses its power.

With joy and peace we overcome the pain of our broken past. With love, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness we restore our relationships and make amends. With patience we persevere through the difficult times. With self-control we stand against our tendency to relapse. God’s Spirit can supply everything necessary for a successful recovery.


There’s a struggle going on inside of us—a fight for control. Our willpower fails us repeatedly. Where can we turn when we realize that we can’t get control of our life?

The apostle Paul said: “I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. . . . But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:16-17, 22-23).

Self-control is not willpower. It is not something we get by gritting our teeth and forcing ourselves to “just say no.” Self-control is called a fruit. Fruit doesn’t instantly pop out on the tree. As the tree grows and seasons pass, the fruit naturally develops. As we continue to follow God’s guidance, taking one step at a time, our self-control will gradually grow. Our job is to stay connected to God. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to produce the fruit of self-control in our life.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.


Emotional Healing

John 20:22
Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

John 20:22-23 The risen Christ did as he had promised (see 14:16-1715:2616:7) and breathed his Holy Spirit on his disciples. This life-bringing, truth-revealing, sin-convicting, comfort-giving Spirit is also a Spirit of forgiveness. Just as we receive God’s forgiveness for our sins, so we are exhorted and enabled to forgive those who sin against us. If we refuse to forgive others, we will miss the blessed freedom that God offers. He wants us to experience the emotional healing that comes only from working through our anger and hurt to the point of releasing it to God. By God’s Spirit, recovery from our painful past can be completed.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *