MAY 23. PENTECOST SUNDAY. Jn. 20. 19-23
In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again:
‘Peace be with you.
‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’
Today we celebrate one of the greatest gifts God gave his Church; the gift of the Holy Spirit!
Note however this ‘gift’; - as with all of God’s gifts, has no measurements. It is a spiritual gift and it is important this be understood. We are surrounded, in nature, by his material gifts but these do not rate as worthy of mention; - when compared to his spiritual gifts.
This is an important distinction as nearly all ‘gifts’ we receive on earth are material gifts, so God’s gifts are distinctly different in being spiritual. The reason for this is His focus is on our spiritual life; - not on our material or earthly life; - in fact he shows little concern for these, a fact that is evident when we look at the extent of poverty and suffering in the world.
It is our spiritual life he is concerned about as he is well aware our physical needs only exist for the briefest of periods; - while our spiritual life determines how we will spend eternity! A truth easily overlooked, and forgotten, if our primary focus is our material needs and desires!
Our Faith, Hope and Charity are some of the areas that concern God, and which he provides for by giving us the Holy Spirit; - critical components of our Spiritual Life; - our life of Faith.
What we are witnessing in today’s reading, and Feast, is the foundation of the Church, and notice what Christ nominates as his primary gift to his Church; - Peace! Peace of mind and Peace of soul; - priceless gifts for our life on earth that we often do not even realise we need!
And as Christ is aware we are sinners; - he leaves his Church the ‘gift’ of the Sacrament of Confession; - so when we fall short of his teachings; - as we will; - we have a means to obtain God’s Mercy and Forgiveness; - as Peace would not be possible without this gift!
We are given the Spirit in order for our spiritual life to be nurtured and grow and the Church even nominates the seven primary gifts by which he does this; -“Wisdom; - Understanding; -Counsel; - Fortitude; - Knowledge; - Piety; - and fear of the Lord;” gifts designed so we are able to establish and maintain an intimate relationship with our God; - via Faith and Prayer!
God’s focus is on our Spiritual life which means Faith, Hope, Charity, Prayer and Sacrament!
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.