People of Pentecost
JOHN14: 15–16: 23– 26 (YEAR A – JOHN 20:19–23)
The Solemnity of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, is brought to us in our readings today. The First Reading, (Acts 2:1–11), is a clear indication of the promise of the Holy Spirit coming not only to the Apostles but to us today.
The gospel (Year A) highlights the gathering of the disciples in the Upper Room—locked in a room for fear of the Jews. Jesus appears although the door was locked. He breathes on them and greets them: “Peace be with you”, and showed them His hands!
They were instantly overjoyed, all fear was gone. Jesus’ appearance in a locked room indicates to us that He can reach you, and reach into you, anywhere and anytime. There is no place where you are, and no depths of personhood, which Jesus can’t penetrate.
The passage also tells us how Jesus gave to the Apostles the power and authority to forgive sins. “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained” (Jn 20:23).
These wonderful words, which bind together inseparably the presence of the Holy Spirit with the gift of forgiveness, are referred to directly in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The advocate, he says, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. That advocate is here with us daily. We are in a better position than the disciples because they fought to bring us to the instructions of Christ. How beautiful is the thought that the Holy Spirit lives within us! Pentecost Sunday is the birthday of the Church.
We celebrate Jesus through the sacramental mysteries of the Church, and the Holy Spirit is at the heart of the sacramental life of the Church. Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders are the sacramental mysteries through which people receive the seal of the Holy Spirit.
It would be impossible for us to receive Jesus in the Eucharist without the descent of the Holy Spirit at the Epiclesis of the Divine Liturgy. The Holy Spirit both confirmed the apostles in Holy Orders as priests and empowered them to forgive sins by His power, a work which He continues today in each of our priests.
We are people of Pentecost. We are empowered; we cannot stay behind closed doors anymore. We may be driven to stay in fear when crime, sin, drugs, diseases, sexual immorality and other negatives bombard us daily, but we are Spirit-filled people: we acknowledge our weaknesses; we can ask for the strengthening, anointing and guidance of the Holy Spirit daily. In our challenging moments, we need a powerful jolt: the Holy Spirit, the power of God, is that jolt.
In the Creed we profess that He is the “giver of life”. How good it would be for us each day to feel this jolt of life! We can bring our country, the world and families to the Holy Spirit; we were given that authority and the helper, the advocate to complete this work. We have absolutely no excuses.
Choose to be a Spirit-filled person. Spirit-filled people speak words that heal, restore, make people happy and build people up instead of tearing them down. Spirit-filled people pass on the love of God to the people living around them by their acts of kindness, mercy and charity.
The Spirit claimed us at Baptism and empowered us with His gifts and fruits at Confirmation. Draw near to the spirit, be open to Him speaking to you, live your lives in a state of grace where He flourishes and grows.
Veni, Sancte Spiritus. Come Holy Spirit makes us into Spirit-filled people today and help us to transform this world with Your Spirit and Love. Amen
The Gospel Meditations for June are by Rosemarie Siewnarine, a wife, mother of two sons and parishioner of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Carapichaima. She is also a Standard 4/5 teacher at the Carapichaima RC Primary School.