Pentecost Sunday (B)


PENTECOST SUNDAY (B) John 20: 19-23 - May 20, 2018

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love”.

A poor family living in a small village was the prizewinner in a raffle to go to San Andres Island in the Caribbean Sea for five days. They brought their own food, bread and peanut butter. After several days of peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the young boy came to his parents and said, "If I have to eat peanut butter sandwiches all the time, I won't enjoy this beautiful place. I prefer to go back home." The sensitive parents gave him their last bill they had left for ice cream. After a few hours the child came back. They noticed he was very happy. They asked what he had eaten. He said, "A couple of hamburgers, chicken, French potatoes, and a huge ice cream." They asked, "And all of that just for a dollar?" "No, mom and dad, the food is free. All is included in the tour." Then he returned the money to his father. All the Holy Spirit gives us is free and is included with the ticket of our Baptism and Confirmation.

The apostles were together in a safe place, the Upper Room, the same they were with Jesus at the Last Supper, before the Jewish authorities arrested him. But they felt unsecure anyway. Probably they remained in the same place all those fifty days after Easter.

In John´s Gospel we hear: “Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ´Peace be with you. (…) As the Father has sent me, so I send you.´ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ´Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.´” Jesus breathes on them, re-creating them, giving them a new life, to be ready to go out and share that same breath of life with others.

In the Acts of the Apostles we hear, “They were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind (…) Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire (…) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” From that moment on the apostles gave up their safe place and did exactly what Jesus did before he was crucified. They were able to risk their lives for their risen Master. Jesus also calls us to accept the challenges of the Gospel. And the best way to do it is to go to the Upper Room of our prayer and receive the strength of the Spirit to face the everyday difficulties of life.

But Jesus gives us more than we can expect. He does not only call us to announce his Gospel. He gives us the ability and courage to do it. He gives us his Spirit. That same Spirit of Pentecost strengthens us to speak the language of love, reconciliation, and comfort to others. Which gifts do we need to accomplish our Christian task? Let us ask for all of them, all of them are included: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. We are invited to learn to use them in every circumstance of our life.

We Christians have already received the Holy Spirit at the sacrament of Baptism and at the sacrament of Confirmation. But today we receive Christ's command, "Receive the Holy Spirit." We wonder how only twelve uneducated and simple men were capable to light the fire of Pentecost for so many people? And why we, almost two thousand millions of followers of Christ are unable to accomplish the Lord´s instruction; “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel”? Most probably, we are not asking the Holy Spirit to lead us in our family and social life. The Pope has invited us to discover the joy of living our Faith. God our Father has sent his Holy Spirit as the gift of divine joy. We have the obligation to share this gift of joy with others.

Christ is faithful to his promise, “Know that I am with you always until the end of the world”. He carries it out through his Holy Spirit who came on Pentecost upon his Church and will continue giving us life. Jesus ascended into heaven but he is still with us in his Church through his Holy Spirit.

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