“I do not pray for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that all may be one as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; I pray that they may be [one] in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” –John 17:20-21

Mass Readings: May 17
First: Acts 22:30; 23:6-11; Resp: Psalm 16:1-2,5,7-11; Gospel: John 17:20-26

Listen to the Mass Readings

Throughout this Pentecost novena, we are praying to receive more deeply the Holy Spirit of unity (see Eph 4:3) by which we can be one as the Father and Jesus are One (Jn 17:21). However, unity does not mean glossing over divisions; it means surfacing and confronting them. For instance, Paul surfaced the disunity between the Pharisees and Sadducees (Acts 23:6-7). Because of this, Paul was almost torn into pieces by the rival forces (Acts 23:10). If we receive the Holy Spirit of unity, we will face disunity head on and suffer accordingly.

This presents a problem. Although we desire unity with God, in the Church, and even between enemies, we probably don’t want to sacrifice our life “to gather into one all the dispersed children of God” (Jn 11:52). If we are unwilling to die for unity, we don’t want to receive the Holy Spirit of unity. So Pentecost, unity, and a self-sacrificial death all go together.

We have Pentecost when our love for the Lord and for people is stronger than our selfishness and fear of death (see Sg 8:6). Love is the catalyst leading us to die to self, build unity, and receive a new Pentecost. This, in turn, will greatly deepen our love, leading to martyrdoms, a progression of Pentecosts, and Trinity-unity. Will you love enough to pray: “Come, Holy Spirit”?

PRAYER: Father, I decide to love enough to be a seed which falls to the earth, dies, and bears fruit abundantly (Jn 12:24).
PROMISE: “That night the Lord appeared at Paul’s side and said: ‘Keep up your courage!’ ” —Acts 23:11
PRAISE: Receiving the Holy Spirit gave Philip the heart for street evangelization.

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