The feast of Pentecost has many layers and there is much to reflect on and to learn for today. Religious festivals most often have agricultural roots, in rhythm with nature, and this is pre-eminently true of the Jewish feast of Pentecost. The later wheat harvest suggests “in-gathering”, a theme which serves Luke’s purpose in Acts 2:1-13. As well as that, religious feasts often “accrue” extra meanings and this also happened for Pentecost/Shavuot which came to be associated with the giving of the Torah on Mt Sinai to Moses. For Luke, the new law is no longer the letter but the Spirit. And so on…there are many layers — fully explored in the extra lecture below on the first reading.
New: Hearers of the Word YouTube channel (see below)
1. Ecumenical Bible Week 2020
Our parish-based programmes have been postponed to the autumn, on account of the pandemic. However, a replacement online programme has been created. All the details are on our EBW website. The programme offers an opening event (June 2 @ 10.00am), a closing event (June 7 @7.00pm) and a webinar (June 4 @ 3.00pm). The webinar topic is: “In light of the C19 crisis and the increased digital presence, where to form here for faith communities?” We have been fortunate to able able assemble an exceptional team for this online seminar. To take part in each or all of the events, it is necessary to register on our website.
2. Vision 2020: Faith into the Future/ Scripture Summer School
Our annual Summer School takes place this year online. The overall topic is “Vision 2020: Faith into the Future.” (See the poster in this email.) Each presenter is offering 6 presentations on their chosen topic. The School this year is spread over two weeks, to allow time to “attend” to the pre-recorded Zoom lectures at your leisure. In the week June 22-26, there will be four live Zoom conferences for Q+A and further discussion. The cost per household is €40. To register, all you do is send an email to me and then make the payment online. Our sincere hope is that the Summer School will still be an enjoyable learning experience for everyone. All the details may be seen on the dedicated web page.
Bookings are going well, thank God. If you were thinking of talking part, now is the time to get in touch.
3. Notes on the Readings
(a) Pentecost Sunday
Full notes (PDF)
Gospel notes (Audio)
Gospel notes (Portable)
(b) Extra talk on Acts 2:1-13
As an extra, there is now a dedicated lecture on the Gospel (usually) going a more deeply into the background and teaching. For Pentecost, the first reading has been chosen.
The first reading: a deeper exploration Zoom Lecture
The full list of Zoom presentations is here.
These talks are also available on a dedicated YouTube Channel: Hearers of the Word. This route is probably more direct and a bit handier for most people.
4. The homeless
Each year, I undertake one charity cycle — for the homeless. LIke many of you, Peter McVerry is a hero to me. If you’d like to contribute to this year’s Wexford Cycle, then click on this link. At this stage, it is not certain that the cycle will take place at all — in that case, I’ll do it “privately” in the Phoenix Park by going around 14 times to make up the 140km. The target is ambitious —€10k — of which €4,200 or 42% has already been donated. A big thank you to all the donors.
Wishing you a blessed Pentecost,
Kieran O’Mahony OSA