Gospel Reflection: Pentecost
Malvern Minute

 

PENTECOST SUNDAY

JUNE 4, 2017

ALLELUIA

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and

Kindle in them the fire of your love!

ALLELUIA

 

A Reading from the holy Gospel according to Saint John 20: 19-23

Peace be with you!

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 are retained.”

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD.

 

REFLECTION

By the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Christ’s Paschal Mystery was brought to its completion (Magnificat, June, Monthly Missalet)

Allow me to deviate a little from my normal approach to the Sunday Gospel by providing portions of the teachings on the Holy Spirit by Saint Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea.  Basil is one of the most distinguished Doctors of the Church, meaning he remains a most excellent teacher of the truths of the faith. The following is from Saint Basil, the Great.

The titles given to the Holy Spirit must surely stir the soul of anyone who hears them …. But, his principal and most personal title is the Holy Spirit.  To the Spirit, all creatures turn in their need for sanctification; all living things seek him according to their ability. His breath empowers each to achieve its own natural end.  The Spirit is the source of holiness, a spiritual light, and he offers his own light to every mind to help it in its search for truth.

The power of the Spirit fills the whole universe, but he gives himself only to those who are worthy, acting in each according to the measure of his faith…. the Spirit is manifold in his mighty works. The whole of his being is present to each individual; the whole of his being is present everywhere…. Like the sunshine, which permeates all the atmosphere, spreading over land and sea, and yet is enjoyed by each person as though it were for him alone, so the Spirit pours forth his grace in full measure, sufficient for all, and yet is present as though exclusively to everyone who can receive him.

The Spirit raises our hearts to heaven, guides the steps of the weak, and brings to perfection those who are making progress. He enlightens those who have been cleansed from every stain of sin and makes them spiritual by communion with himself.

As clear, transparent substances become very bright when sunlight falls on them and shine with a new radiance, so also souls in whom the Spirit dwells, and who are enlightened by the Spirit, become spiritual themselves and a source of grace for others.  From the Spirit comes foreknowledge of the future, understanding of the mysteries of faith, insight into the hidden meaning of Scripture, and other special gifts. Through the Spirit, we become citizens of heaven, we enter into eternal happiness, and abide in God. Through the Spirit, we acquire a likeness to God; indeed, we attain what is beyond our most sublime aspirationswe become God.

The Sunday Gospel begins by bringing us back to the days immediately after the death of Jesus on the Cross.  The disciples are scared out of their minds anticipating that they may be the next victims of those attempting to suppress the movement of Jesus!   Then, all of a sudden, Jesus appears in their midst and proclaims the words that all of us long to hear when we are frightened or spiritually unnerved: Peace be with you!

In this episode, the Gospel clearly teaches that God understands fully the depth and degree of human fear.  Since the time of Adam, humanity has been in a state of fear: fear because of our inadequacies; fear because of our lack of power to control; fear of self and others; and above all, fear of death!  To assure them and us fully of our security when we are with Christ: Jesus said to them again,Peace be with you!

In the First Letter of John, we learn: Love has no room for fear; rather, perfect love casts out all fear … love is not yet perfect in one who is afraid (4: 18).  The gift of the Resurrected Jesus to all his disciples is the gift of peace. Jesus Christ gives us the Holy Spirit to drive out all fear so that we may experience the love God has for us.  To demonstrate his infinite love, Jesus revealed his wounds, the wounds he endure out of love for us.

Through the wounds of Christ, the Church, you and I continue to receive the infinite mercy of God.  It is through the wounds of Jesus that we are reconciled to God, and therefore we need not be afraid!  The Resurrected Christ assures all that the God who can raise one from death to life can forgive sins and raise-up humankind to the friendship of God!  Peace be with you – and, DO NOT BE AFRAID!

ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN, JESUS CHRIST

Healing of the Paralytic (Luke 5: 17-26)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

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