GOSPEL OF PENTECOST SUNDAY
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to
John 20: 19-23
In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the door 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.’
The Gospel of the Lord.
Pentecost Sunday - 31st May 2020
Since the Ascension of our Lord ten days ago, the scripture readings and prayer of the Church have been leading up to today. The disciples were in the room and the doors were closed. They were afraid. Jesus appears in their midst and he calms them down by offering them his peace, not once but twice. He then gives them the Holy Spirit by breathing on them. He is putting the Spirit into them and giving them power to forgive sins. The action of breathing is repeated by the Bishop when he blesses the oil of Chrism usually on Holy Thursday. The disciples are gathered together again. There is nothing unusual about this because fifty days after the Passover the Jewish people celebrated another festival. People from all over would be in Jerusalem. Then there is the sound of a powerful wind and flames appear and separate and rest on the head of each of them. This is a very powerful scene. It is the Holy Spirit blowing away the old and burning it up. It is a visible sign of what now burns within their hearts to go out and teach all nations. Our Lord had told to wait in Jerusalem for this to happen. They could not start their mission without receiving the Holy Spirit. Now they can start. The people hear the disciples talking in their own language. They are accused of being drunk. Yes, they are intoxicated but not with wine but the Spirit. We hear the Word of God in our own language so that we can understand it and pass it. Each one of us is different from other people. We each have our own talents. As St. Paul says ‘The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose.’
Our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit. That is why we must look after them. The Holy Spirit is work in the Church all the time. The Holy Spirit guides us. The thing is though, we have to listen.