May 23, 2021: Feast of the Pentecost
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.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. 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.” 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 they are retained.”
Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the Church. Jesus’ opening greeting to his disciples was “Peace be with you.” Saying this twice, Jesus must have known his disciples needed the comfort of hearing their Master utter these words.
Jesus’ mission was to bring peace and to empower his beloved disciples to carry on the mission. By breathing upon them while saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive they are forgiven; whose sins you retain they are retained,” his mission was complete. Not leaving them abandoned, Jesus had fulfilled his promise by sending them the Holy Spirit, a paraclete, a helper, a counselor to be the unseen presence within their souls as they continued their mission to manifest God’s love and forgiveness in the world.
How do we manifest God’s love and forgiveness in our families to our neighbors and to ourselves?