Contemplating today's Gospel - Liturgic day: Pentecost Sunday - May 27th, 2012
Gospel text (Jn 20,19-23): On the evening of that day, the first day after the Sabbath, the doors were locked where the disciples were, because of their fear of the Jews, but Jesus came and stood in their midst. He said to them, «Peace be with you»; then He showed them his hands and his side. The disciples kept looking at the Lord and were full of joy. Again Jesus said to them, «Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you». After saying this He breathed on them and said to them, «Receive the Holy Spirit; for those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained».
Comment: Mons. Josep Àngel SAIZ i Meneses Bishop of Terrassa (Barcelona, Spain)
«Receive the Holy Spirit»
Today, the day of Pentecost, the fulfillment of the promise Christ made the Apostles is finally accomplished. The evening of that Easter day He breathed on them and said to them: «Receive the Holy Spirit» (Jn 20:22). The Holy Spirit's arrival on the Day of Pentecost renews and brings this gift to plenitude in a solemn way and with external manifestations. Thus culminates the paschal mystery.
Jesus conveys the Spirit into the disciples to create a new human condition while producing unity. When man's arrogance made him think he could defy God by building the Babel tower, God mixed their languages so they could not understand each other any more. With the Pentecost it just happens the contrary: on the grace of the Holy Spirit, people from the most varied origins and languages can understand the Apostles.
The Holy Spirit is the intimate and personal Master who guides the disciple towards the truth, who motivates him to do good, who consoles him in the pain, who transforms him intimately, while giving him a new strength and capacity.
The first day of the Pentecost of the Christian era, the Apostles were gathered around the Virgin Mary, while praying. The recollection, and the praying attitude, are necessary to receive the Spirit. «And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them» (Acts 2:2-3).
They remained full of the Holy Spirit and, bravely, they started to preach. Those fearful men had been transformed into courageous preachers unafraid of gaol, torture or martyrdom. Which should not surprise us, for the Holy Spirit’s strength dwelt within them.
The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, is my soul's soul, the life of my life, the entity of my entity; it is my sanctifier, the guest in my deepest interior. To reach maturity in a life of faith our relation with Him must be, time and again, more conscientious, more personal. In this celebration of the Pentecost we must have the doors, deep down us, wide open.