This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the day when we celebrate the decent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the beginning of the apostolic mission to bring the Church to the world. It is the birthday of the church so maybe we should sing happy birthday instead of Veni Creator Spiritus and blow out the candles on the birthday cake instead of blowing out the paschal candle because it’s the end of Easter!! With the feast of Pentecost the seven weeks of Easter have come to an end, Christ’s Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance. (Cf. Acts 2:33-36) (CCC 731)
In the Gospel reading, Jesus, knowing that human nature is still weak, gives the apostles the power to forgive and reconcile those who sin. It is God’s mercy working through His bishops and priests down through the ages to ourselves in our own time and place! The scene in the gospel opened with fear and apprehension on the part of Jesus’ followers. By the time John wrote his gospel, Jewish Christians had been excommunicated for their belief in the Messiah. Ostracized and socially persecuted, some Christians reacted in fear, while others boldly proclaimed the gospel Early Christians needed a sense of stability, a sense of divine peace. Through the words of Jesus, “Peace” was John’s prayer for his readers as it is for us as we listen to this gospel reading.
With the sight of Jesus, fear turned into great joy. Anxiety turned into relief. Desperation turned into vindication. Most important, a lack of spiritual direction turned into a sense of deep spiritual grounding. The divine presence stood close to them and with the divine presence came divine peace. We too have the divine presence in the Blessed Sacrament and it brings Joy and spiritual grounding to all those who come and Jesus says to each and everyone you are welcome.
We can’t ignore the problems that are there both our own and other peoples. Most of the time, the problems in our lives and the lives of other people just don’t go away by themselves very often we need to stop and think things through. If we pray through the problems as well as thinking them through and this seems to be the most reasonable solution for us as Christians, we will find that they are much easier to get through. Simply put Prayer Moves Mountains.
Gathered at the Eucharist week in week out we bring our prayers to God. We each have our own needs. Family and friends may be sick. Kids need work. The person who has been in our lives for so long has died. We bring these and all our concerns in prayer to church because they remind us of our need and they raise our hopes in the power of God made real to every generation through the Holy Spirit.
Through the Holy Spirit our relationship with God has produced fruitfulness, satisfied our longings, and brings us peace. Because of God’s faithfulness, we give thanks, offer sacrifice, and once again present our needs this Pentecost Sunday as we remember the presence of God with us in all our lives.