Dear Followers of the Risen Christ,
Today the Church celebrates Pentecost! This is the birthday of the Church, our foundation in the Holy Spirit. Today, we invigorate our lives, confess our faith, and realize our role to spread the Good News in our world. Pentecost is not just a celebration of the past, but also an enlightenment of God’s activity within our human lives.
Today’s gospel, John 20:19-23, is a familiar passage in this Easter season. We proclaimed this text on the Second Sunday of Easter. In John’s gospel, Pentecost happened in the first week after the Resurrection.
Jesus appears behind closed doors. This revelation speaks to us in our weariness and tightness of heart and attitude. There is nothing that will keep the Holy Spirit from our lives— no hardship or discomfort, no sin or doubt, no insecurity or suffering. Today, we are challenged again that all our hearts be open to receive this new life.
The first words from Jesus after his Resurrection were, “Peace be with you.” This is not a throwaway line. This is the truth of Jesus’ presence and his overwhelming life of peace, harmony and forgiveness. Jesus’ greeting of peace is a very commonplace expression in many languages. Jesus is really saying, “Hello.” This is an everyday expression and yet it speaks to the core of how we long for the everyday presence of Jesus Christ.
Jesus breathes on his disciples. The Holy Spirit does not fade into the wind. The Spirit is with us forever. So often in baptism, we live as if the Holy Spirit was given to us once upon a time and fades with our disinterest over time. The Holy Spirit does not leave us! The Holy Spirit’s power, love and consolation are still deep within our lives and hearts. Once we are given such power, it does not fade or get washed away in memory, time or adulthood.
Today is the day we all need to ask for what we need in life. Life is tough; anguish is real; and the threats of violence, hunger, and war are in the air. We are challenged to pray this Pentecost Day! Pray for your own needs and the needs of your family. Pray for what the world needs and desires. Pray for our Church and our local community. Pray for our future and the hope that peace can really find a home on earth. Pray for everything! We do this because on this Solemnity of Pentecost, who knows how the Holy Spirit will transform the world. Only the Holy Spirit knows for sure.
Here are some questions to consider this week:
How can you revive your prayer and relationship with the Holy Spirit? What is the Holy Spirit calling you to pray for in your life and in our world this week? How is the Holy Spirit challenging you to serve, love and work in the world? How can you practically embrace the Holy Spirit in your life today/