The Solemnity of Pentecost marks the end of the seven-week long celebration of Jesus’ victory over death. The liturgical readings of the Easter Season are intended to deepen the Church’s reflection on who Jesus is and his teachings in light of the Resurrection. The daily readings from the Acts of the Apostles prepare us for the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit by reflecting on her transformative power in the early Church. By the time we celebrate Pentecost, the Church’s spiritual questioning is not so much about our belief in Jesus as the Messiah, but the degree to which we commit to live out his teachings through the Holy Spirit.
Los Angeles, like many other cities, has spent the entire Easter season indoors following stay-at-home orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis has accentuated the racial and economic inequalities rooted in our nation, and now, for the past three days, Los Angeles civilians have been protesting in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. Although this devastating tragedy is deserving of anger and sorrow in and of itself, it is compounded by the deaths of all people from marginalized communities who have died in police custody, the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the disregard for human life at the borders and in our prison system, and the loss of all those who, in this time of pandemic, have died because of systemic racial and economic injustices that have made them more vulnerable to exposure to the novel coronavirus.