Reflection on Scripture Solemnity of Pentecost Receive the Holy Spirit

By 10:23 AM

 Feast of Pentecost: Gospel B

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." 

· That Jesus appeared on the first day of the week is one of the basis for our celebration of the Lord’s Day on Sunday, the first day, in contrast to the Jewish Sabbath which is the seventh day.

· The theology in the Gospel of John the Evangelist has a different focus than the other three Gospels. For him it is important to connect the central mysteries of the Paschal Mystery. These are: institution of the Eucharist (the Last Supper/Holy Thursday), the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus (Good Friday/Easter), the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

·    That the doors were closed and yet Jesus appeared in bodily form shows that the resurrected body is different from the ordinary human body. It has the same qualities but not limited by space and time.

· Why do you think Jesus initiates his Easter appearance to the Apostles with the greeting of Peace and ends with the forgiveness of sins? If you had denied the Lord, fled in fear, abandoned him at the time of his greatest need for support, would you be initially excited at his return or would you be expecting a strong reprimand or rejection? Anticipating this fear, Jesus reassures them of his forgiveness and love. How often have we experienced the same fear but received instead Jesus’ loving mercy and forgiveness?

·    Peace comes as a result of something else: relationship with Jesus. The greater the relationship, the greater is the peace. What is your relationship with Jesus at this point? What was it a year ago?

             The peace Jesus gives them is the grace of repentance and salvation.            

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. 

· They probably thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus had to reassure them that he was truly risen and alive. How often has God had to reassure us on our journey?

· It was his suffering and death that has freed them of their sins and has brought them true reconciliation and peace with God.

· Though risen, the marks on his body remain visible so that they know it is the same Jesus.  He will carry these brand marks into heaven to be with him forever.

The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. (Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." 

· Look up the Great Commission in Mt 28:18-20, or Mk 16:15-18.

· What Jesus said to the Apostles, he says to each of us. How have we fulfilled this in our lives so far?

· Have we personalized and accepted this commission of Jesus?

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

· One of the symbols of the Holy Spirit is that of breath. As God in the first creation breathed the breath of life into Adam and Eve, so now in the second creation Jesus breathes the life of the Spirit into the Apostles.

· You have been confirmed and empowered with the same gift of the Holy Spirit. To what extent are we conscious of the presence and lead of the Spirit in our daily lives?

Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

· Though God has forgiven our sins, do we still hold on to them by not forgiving ourselves? Do we still hold others in bondage by not asking their forgiveness and forgiving them?

· How do you apply this Gospel message to your life today?

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