PENTECOST SUNDAY- the explanation

by Bishop Robert Barron

From all eternity, the Father looks at the Son and the Son looks at the Father. What each sees is utter perfection and beauty. And so each, as Venerable Fulton Sheen said, sighs his love for the other. This shared breath is what our tradition calls the Spiritus Sanctus, the love breathed back and forth between the Father and the Son.

This is the same Holy Spirit that hovered over the chaotic waters at creation, that spoke through the prophets and patriarchs, that overshadowed the Virgin at the Annunciation, that drove Jesus into the desert, and that the Lord breathed (appropriately enough) on his disciples the night of Easter. How marvelous that this sacred breath is associated with the forgiveness of sins: Receive the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.  

In an acrobatic act of love, the Father sent the Son all the way to the limits of godforsakenness, all the way to the furthest end of our rebellion and isolation. This is the central drama of the cross. Then, in the Holy Spirit, he drew the whole fallen world, which the Son had embraced, back to himself. And this is precisely why the Spirit is the great principle of mercy. In the words of absolution, the priest prays, “God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins.”

On the feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the fact that this breath, this wind, this hurricane of mercy has been loosed upon the world.


Jesus told us: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray to the Father and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”(Jn 14:15-17)

Jesus knew the difficulties we would face in life. He knew the help and the strength and the wisdom and courage that would be needed so as to not fall into severe discouragement or even despair. When you were baptized, the Holy Spirit was given you to lead you into the fullness of Truth itself. He was given you to accompany you through the struggles and the joys that life on this earth would bring.  It is not a pious idea; it is not a metaphor. God chose to share with you, His very own Spirit.  When you became his sons and daughters in baptism, you genuinely were brought into the family of God. He desires to accompany you through all your daily activities and relationships. He wants to impart his priorities, equip you with all you need to live his will which is guaranteed to bring you to eternal life.

So often, I think we heard these truths when we were young and then discarded them as we grew older. We never really understood that God so loved us that he would not only never abandon us, but he would walk with us through every moment of life. The catch? There is no catch. We just have to invite him in to our everyday life–every day–and watch how he will guide us, if we ask for his help. Jesus wants to share his very own Spirit-that is, the love between the Father and the Son-a love so great that it is the third person of the Trinity.  The Holy Spirit dwelling in you longs to care for you, guide you and lead you home to union with the Father and the Son for all eternity.

Today is the feast of Pentecost. Pray for your family, for your pastor, your parish, your friends, yourself. Pray with faith. God knows even better than we the state of the world and the Church. He knows our needs as only a loving father can. He wants to supply what he knows we need. Let’s trust him and ask. (in part-from the “Catholic TV Monthly)


PRAYER: Today, O Lord, through the mystery of Pentecost, you sanctify your Church in every place and nation. Pour out the gifts of the Spirit upon the whole world, and bring to completion in the hearts of your faithful the work of love which you began with your first proclamation of the kingdom, who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen (from the MAGNIFICAT)


Remember, without the gifts of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost there would be no Christianity and no Church. The apostles and the disciples would never have had tht courage to leave that upper room and spread the word of Jesus Christ throughout the world. The Word would have died in that upper room. Ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit daily to help you do, go and say what Jesus wants. Ask for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in every word you speak.



If you are baptized, you are a citizen of heaven-your true home. The saints-the citizens of heaven who have arrived there ahead of us-are cheering us on! While the saints remind us of all we could be, more importantly they should remind us of all we are.

No mater where we are on the earthly political spectrum-Democrat, Republican, Independent, or some other political affiliation-we need to stay connected to the primary Gospel truth regarding our CHRISTIAN CITIZENSHIP.

By virtue of our Christian baptism, we are born into the family of God. It is an indelible reality that cannot be washed off our soul.  It’s like spiritual DNA; we are born with it and it cannot change. …………………………..

What is wrought by baptism is a continual attachment to the Body of Christ and the Church. St. Paul writes:  “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”(Philippians 3:20)…………………………….

Indeed, “the first calling of the Christian is to follow Jesus”(Catholic Catechesism 2253). And the Church, for its part, is not to be confused with the political community, yet it is to “respect and encourages the political freedom and responsibility of the citizen”(CCC,2245)


  1. BE SUBJECT AND COLLABORATE WITH AUTHORITIES. It is a Christian’s duty to voice “just criticisms of that which seems harmful to the dignity of persons and to the good of the community” (CCC,2238)
  2. CONTRIBUTE “TO THE GOOD OF SOCIETY IN A SPIRIT OF TRUTH, JUSTICE, SOLIDARITY, AND FREEDOM.”  Love and service of one’s country follows the larger duties of gratitude and charity.  Good citizens ought “to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community” (CCC,2239)
  3. TAKE CO-RESPONSIBILITY WITH AUTHORITIES FOR THE COMMON GOOD. Supporting the common good includes the moral obligation to “pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country” (CCC,2240)
  4. WELCOME IMMIGRANTS. Prosperous nations have an obligation to welcome foreigners seeking security or jobs that cannot be found in their country of origin. “They have a natural right, as guests, to protection.  “Authorities, for the sake of the common good…may make (immigration) subject of various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens”
  5. THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO FOLLOW LAWS THAT CONFLICT WITH AN UPRIGHT CONSCIENCE. “Armed resistance to oppression” (CCC,2243) is a last resort only when specific criteria are met.  “The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. REFUSING OBEDIENCE to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in tCCChe distinction between serving God and serving the political community. ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s (Matthew 22:21),(CCC,2242)
Jesus did not say following him would be easy, but He did say the reward-Heaven- would be worth it.  BE SURE TO STAND UP FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE, EVEN IF IT IS HARD. God Bless you all.