Pentecost (John 20:19-23)
In these verses Jesus brings the gift of peace and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The account of the day of Pentecost is found in our first reading, from the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. Fifty days after the resurrection there was a spectacular manifestation of the power of the Spirit. Jews and proselytes, gathered from the nations for the Jewish feast of Pentecost, witness the power of the Spirit and hear the preaching of the apostles each in his own tongue. This event launches the mission to the whole world.
Our gospel teaches that the Holy Spirit was also given by the risen Christ before the events of Pentecost. This is a quieter and more intimate demonstration of the power of the Spirit. It is related to the preaching of forgiveness and the possibility of new life for those who ask for it. The disciples are empowered to bring the forgiveness of Christ, but it is possible for people to reject this forgiveness. This seems to be the sense of the final verse, that some have their sins retained.
This is the final day of the Easter period. The Lord who died on the cross has shown himself in his risen body. He has taken our humanity into the presence of the Father. He is no longer visibly present, but his Spirit is with us to remind us of Jesus and to lead us into all truth. That Spirit, as St Paul; writes to the Corinthi8ans, bestows gifts in abundance for the benefit of the whole Church.
Do I allow the Holy Spirit to transform my life?
Do I seek the peace and forgiveness offered to me through prayer and the sacraments?
Pray for the whole church, that Christians everywhere will be enlivened by the Holy Spirit.
Pray that the Easter gifts of Christ will always be with us.
Holy Trinity (John 16:12-15)
Even though we came to an end of the Easter season with the feast of Pentecost, the atmosphere of celebration continues this Sunday with Trinity Sunday. After the long seasons of Lent and Easter it is as if we pause to contemplate the mystery of God, thy mystery of the Three in One, the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
The gospel reading allows us to reflect on this mystery, for Father, Son and Spirit are clearly present in it. The passage is taken from the farewell speeches in the Gospel of John, from which we have read during the Easter season. Jesus is about to leave his disciples to return to the Father.
The Spirit of truth, referred to earlier in John’s gospel as the ‘advocate’, the one ‘called to be alongside’, will lead us to discover new things, new depths which are implicit in the good news of Jesus, but which only with time become clear to us. The Spirit is the guarantor that the Church remains in the truth.
The unity of Father, Son and Spirit is underlined when Jesus says that all that the Spirit speaks will be from him, and all that is from him is from the Father. We are confronted with the beauty of the God who reaches out to us, and the deep mystery of God, which is beyond our capacity to explain.
As St Paul makes clear in the passage from Romans, it is through the reaching out of Jesus Christ that we are at peace with God, and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we know our hope in God is sound.
Consider how each of the persons of the Holy Trinity reaches out to us.
What do I need to do to allow the Spirit to lead me ‘to the complete truth’?
Pray for reverence and humility when faced with the mystery of the one, true God.
Pray for those who seek the truth but cannot open their hearts to it. Fr Adrian Graffy