Pentecost

El Greco’s Pentecost (full image)

Pentecost is the event “where God the Father ‘through his Word, pours into our hearts the Gift that contains all gifts, the Holy Spirit’” (CCC 1082, HD 56).

  • St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that “Gift” is a proper name of the person of the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and Son as love.
  • Thomas points out that a gift, by definition, is something that is given without the intention of a return and that wishes the receiver well. Therefore, what underlies every real gift is love.
  • Since the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son as love, He proceeds as the first gift. From this first gift, as St. Augustine says, “many particular gifts are portioned out to the members of Christ.” (ST I, q. 38, a. 2)
  • Thus, at Pentecost, the Blessed Trinity shows love for us by giving the gift of Holy Spirit (“the first gift”) and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (“many particular gifts”).
  • At Pentecost, the Father, through the Son, “pours into our hearts” the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is the Gift of the gift.

The Lectionary provides three sets of readings for Pentecost, two for the vigil mass and one for the mass during the day. They can all be found here.

For a simpler outline with a focus on the Holy Spirit as love and the traditional Holy Spirit prayer, click here.

For an outline which is more theologically complex and which focuses on how Easter, Pentecost, and the Mass are really one, click here.

The Homiletic Directory offers the following Catechism points and themes for the Solemnity of Pentecost:

  • CCC 696, 726, 731-732, 737-741, 830, 1076, 1287, 2623: Pentecost
  • CCC 599, 597,674, 715: apostolic witness on Pentecost
  • CCC 1152, 1226, 1302, 1556: the mystery of Pentecost continues in the Church
  • CCC 767, 775, 798, 796, 813, 1097, 1108-1109: the Church, communion in the Spirit
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