John 20:19-23 Pentecost
Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.
The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant.
Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”
Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”
When Jesus visited the disciples in the upper room, they were feeling hopeless, afraid and alone, with no idea what to do next, despite all that he had told them while he was living with them.
When they received the Holy Spirit, they were transformed, and equipped to take the Good News out to the whole world.
We all have times when a bad experience shakes us so much, we don’t know where to turn, and our confidence is shattered. Times when we can’t think straight enough to work our way out of the mess; or when we know what we need to do, but we’re so worn down we just can’t summon the courage and energy to do it.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit help us to cope at times like these, and Pentecost reminds us of the transformation that’s possible when we let go and let the Spirit work in us. The gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, guidance, and courage enlighten us, and help us to judge and act as true Christians. The gift of piety keeps us close to God, not by taking pride in our own holiness, but by accepting and returning God’s love in living out our faith. The seventh gift, ‘fear of God’, sounds pretty negative today, but finding God really awesome, being amazed by his works and power, means we revere and respect him like anyone we really love, and this gift gives us hope, and helps us to act on that love to bring out the best in ourselves - to be the person he wants us to be.
Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is sending us all out, equipped to do what we need to do, and although there will always be times when we doubt we can cope, we can call on the Spirit, and open his way through our hearts.
Come, Holy Spirit!
Salesian Communications Worker
Come, Holy Spirit!
Help me to open my heart to you, even when it's hard to hope. Bring me your gifts, and guide me to use them so that I can be the person God is calling me to be. Comfort and inspire me. Bring me good sense, compassion, hope and peace.
Through Christ, our Lord,