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 as well as 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 with 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, gives the apostles the power to forgive and reconcile those who sin. This is God’s mercy in action working through the Apostles and the priests down through the ages to ourselves in our time and place!
By the time John wrote his gospel, Jewish Christians had been excommunicated for their belief in Jesus. Ostracized and socially persecuted, some Christians reacted in fear, while others boldly proclaimed the gospel. The First Christians needed a sense of stability, a sense of serenity and 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 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 every one you are welcome. We can’t ignore the problems that are there for ourselves and those around us.
Most of the time, the problems just don’t go away by themselves very often we need to stop and pray through the problems as well as thinking them through. Simply put Prayer Moves Mountains but we shouldn’t stop climbing. 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 produces fruitfulness, satisfies our longings, and brings us serenity and 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.