Dear Followers of Jesus,
We celebrate Pentecost today. I know I say this often, but Pentecost in my favorite feast in the Church. Today’s gospel, John 20:19-23, invites us into great love and trust.
Pentecost reveals the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. After Jesus left this earth, after the Resurrection and the Ascension, he readied our hearts for the power, love and sustaining life of the Holy Spirit. He did not want us to be alone. He desired for us, even in our restless hearts, to remain one in him and with the Father.
The Holy Spirit creates hope within our lives on earth. In this passage from John, which we heard on the Second Sunday of Easter, Jesus reveals immediately after the Resurrection, the gift of the Holy Spirit. I can’t imagine that the disciples locked up in fear behind closed doors really understood such a gift. In John’s gospel, Pentecost happens immediately, while other texts tell the story of Pentecost much later.
I want to believe that the Holy Spirit comes to us in immediate fear. When we find our lives locked up in uncertainty of a recent cancer diagnosis, or the fear of abuse from a family member, or the threat of losing another job, the Holy Spirit comes directly to our aid. We are the family of God in the world and I believe God’s family, the Trinity, guides us into living fearless and beautiful lives. Our role in this activity of God is to be open, receptive and inviting to the Holy Spirit so that God may accomplish within us great love and comfort.
After Jesus rose from the dead, his first words spoken to the disciples in the closed, dark room were “Peace be with you.” These words are loaded with potential and love, with concern and satisfaction. Peace is not just one thing or the other. It is not just the absence of war and violence or the calming of the human heart. It is the miracle of our relationship with God. When we are united with the Trinity, we are being guided into a new way of seeing the world and a new way of viewing people in the world. Peace is not a moment but a lifestyle of living in great trust, hope and tenderness in God. This peace is not worldly but divine; this peace is not what we do, but what God can accomplish within us.
Pentecost is the foundation of the Church. In fact, Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. The Holy Spirit guides us so that we can manifest in our world the work of Christ Jesus, the work of a beautiful and accepting community, the recognition of the love imbued in our sacraments and the service we render for the good of people. Pentecost creates community that transforms the world. The Church’s place in our world is to bring good, to work for justice in the places where justice is needed, to offer the food of the Eucharist not only in our churches but when we learn to feed the real needs of people.
Faith is not tied down in a room of fear. Faith is lived fearlessly among people who most need God. Faith is roused from the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday.
Blessings this Pentecost,