Pentecost Sunday – Year B

May 19, 2024

Lectionary Text

Acts 2:1-21

2:1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

2:2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

2:3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.

2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

2:5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.

2:6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.

2:7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

2:8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?

2:9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

2:11 Cretans and Arabs--in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power."

2:12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?"

2:13 But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine."

2:14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.

2:15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning.

2:16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

2:17 'In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

2:18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

2:19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.

2:20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.

2:21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'


This week we celebrate Pentecost, where we witness God’s Spirit poured out on all flesh. The verb “poured out” links directly to Jesus at the Last Supper, where he used the same word to describe his blood as being "poured out" for many. This Spirit, shared during Pentecost, is the same Spirit by which Jesus pours out his life in self-giving love — voluntarily, fully, joyfully, and without reservation.

The unbound Spirit of Christ is poured out on everyone — the good, the bad, and the ugly — indiscriminately, inviting people to use, not the imperially sanctioned language of empire, but their own language and their own voice. The Spirit empowers us to tell our own story of undergoing God’s delight.

Pentecost is not the private celebration of Christians that separates us from the rest of the world. It is the public outpouring in the public square — the celebration of the universalization of Jesus' love for all people everywhere.


Imagine the Spirit as the life of Christ actively working in all things, everywhere, and at all times — even now. How might embracing this perspective of a perpetual Pentecost transform your daily life?


Come, Holy Spirit, wild and free. Do as you please. Shine your light on me that I might see things as they are, not as I am. Free me to act in your name with courage, creativity, and compassion. See the complete prayer

Word from Below Reflections


All around our communities, in myself, and in our churches, we continue to be held captive to this imperial dream — unity, control and stability through enforced uniformity. Here in the US, it is enshrined on Caesar’s coin: e pluribus unum. In a political culture riven by purity, heretics are exiled. Theology is too often...

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God’s Language

It’s cliffhanger season on TV right now. One of my favorite shows, “Grey’s Anatomy,” has their season finale tonight. I’m expecting something from Shonda Rhimes that will be both spectacular and frustrating. That’s the beauty of cliffhangers. When told well, they keep viewers expecting a great return next season.

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The Paraclete Comes to Guatemala City

Last week in Guatemala City, the work of the Holy Spirit as described by Jesus in John 16 was brought to life in vivid texture amidst a senseless tragedy. Blanca Gomez, loving mother of eight, descended the path into the densely inhabited ravine known as “La Limonada” to bring some lunch to her son.

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Understanding the Bible anew through the Mimetic Theory of René Girard.

Weekly Homily by James Alison