Dear Followers of the Risen Christ,
This gospel, John 20:19-23, is one of two options for Pentecost. It is a familiar scene to us since it was proclaimed on the Second Sunday of Easter. It speaks beautifully today of the gift of peace given to us after Jesus’ resurrection.
Pentecost is the summation of the Easter season. It boldly proclaims the gift of the Holy Spirit that is with us for all eternity. In many ways, Pentecost pushes us out of the nest and into the world to proclaim our heritage of love, peace, and forgiveness. We have celebrated Lent and Easter, the core of our faith in Jesus Christ. This feast now reveals to us how to live and how to be in our very fragile and difficult world. We confidently bring to the world the Holy Spirit that guides us, heals us, and offers us a path to our eternal home. God has promised to never leave us. We belong to Jesus Christ, and he belongs to us.
Before the gospel is proclaimed today, we pray and sing the Sequence. It is an ancient hymn that connects us to our heritage, the beginning of the Church in the Holy Spirit. The first line of the Sequence is, “Come, Holy Spirit, come!” I am heartened by this text. It gives me great hope to speak these words again in our common prayer in the Eucharist.
I love this feast. Imagine that for centuries, the Church has proclaimed this short and vital prayer. If these four words are the only prayer you ever speak, it is enough. In fact, it is about our relationship with God and God’s relationship with us. We belong to God and the Holy Spirit resides deep within us. From our baptism, we proclaim the Holy Spirit given to us at the loving font. From the creation of the world, God breathed on the earth and creation came about. We are part of God’s breath. We are part of God’s plan and imagination.
As we celebrate our 100th year, it is crucial that we rely even more on our relationship with the Holy Spirit. For all these years, our communities have proclaimed in good times and bad, our reliance on the healing grace of God’s care and loving presence. The Holy Spirit has opened our hearts to live lovingly in our world and opened our mouths to proclaim our reliance on God. We can’t forage our path ahead without our reliance on God. We can’t walk a path that is ours alone. We need God and God’s creating presence within us. We need to sing, act, serve, and love in God. We can’t become the People of God, called, the Church, without the gift of the Holy Spirit. So, it is up to each of us to renew our lives in the Holy Spirit on this celebration of Pentecost.
In the gospel today, we hear the first words Jesus spoke after his resurrection. “Peace be with you.” I invite you to take this to heart. When wars and corruption invade your lives, let Jesus offer you peace. When disappointment in family life makes a home in you, know the peace of Christ. When the failure of the Church invades your space, speak peace as a sign of hope to you and others. When questions arise in you about your purpose and plans, send the prayer again to heaven, “Come, Holy Spirit, come.” This will bring peace in the most unbelievable of circumstances.
Please, let the Holy Spirit rest in you. Acknowledge your place in God’s love. This prayer makes all the difference.
Jesus told them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
God give you peace,
Fr. Ron Raab, CSC, Pastor