The Season of Easter concludes with the Solemnity of Pentecost when the Church celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem. As this event marks the beginning of the Church, we can also say, it is the birthday of Holy Mother Church.
During these times, the challenges and difficulties that people face every day instill fear, apprehension and anxiety. This pandemic is not only about public health, it is also about mental health, its effects on livelihood, jobs, and food security. Many are feeling the crunch after months of limited mobility and work.
In today’s Gospel (Jn. 20: 19-23), the disciples were feeling fearful, very similar to what most are experiencing now. Despite their faith, the disciples were afraid; there was no peace in their hearts.
‘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.’
In those moments, the disciples “needed the assurance of the Resurrection”, to quote Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB. Before the disciples can become effective messengers of the Good News to the world, they’d need peace to calm down their fears and worries.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
It is time for the Lord to pass on the mission to His disciples. But He knew that they would need an Advocate, the Holy Spirit. They would need to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit to set the world “on fire”.
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.”
In the same way, we need a transformation in our faith, believing that the Holy Spirit is real and wants to enter our lives in the same way the disciples experienced in that First Pentecost.
What’s happening around us can often lead to spiritual dryness as we are caught in the anxieties, concerns and distractions. Worry and fear overshadow us and our love for Jesus can die down. To revive our faith and our zeal for the Lord, we need to put another log into the fire to spark the dying embers of our spirits. God is reaching out to us with His love, grace and strength so that we can effectively live holy lives pleasing to Him.
Have you experienced going through this, and suddenly things became better, you feel that the “sun’s finally coming out?” The Lord Jesus has come through the closed doors of the room, stood with us saying, “Peace be with you.” Behold, despite the limitations in visiting the physical church, the fire of Pentecost is bright again! Rest assured that for as long as we remain steadfast, the Holy Spirit will grant us the wisdom to understand God’s purpose for all that we are experiencing now.
Today, let us be reminded of the Lord’s promise of fullness, the living Spirit of God, where grace is like living water, flowing steadily so we’ll never thirst again. Pentecost transforms us into powerful instruments of God’s grace. Let us then go forth to spread the holiness of God to the world.
“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.”