Gospel Reflection: Pentecost
Malvern Minute

 

PENTECOST SUNDAY

MAY 15, 2016

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

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

In the Christian way of love, one places himself/herself at risk because they are not to worry about themselves – not what we are to eat; what we are to drink; what we are to wear (Matthew 6: 31).  Disciples are to live by Faith alone!

In order to Love in the terms of the Gospel, one must love God above all others and all things, and one must love their neighbor as Christ loves us – laying down one’s life for one’s neighbor.  Therefore, living the Gospel with true Christian love is humanly risky and is indeed impossible if one is afraid – fear immobilizes and incapacitates the disciple.  This freedom from fear becomes even more challenging when a person is responsible for others, like a spouse and children.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense that when Christ appears to his frightened, locked away disciples He must first greet them with Peace and instill in them Courage, the gifts of the Holy SpiritPeace be with you …. Receive the Holy Spirit!

The most compelling human fear abides deep in the soul of every person.  This fear surfaces in the most dramatic way when we confront death … death of a loved one and/or our own impending death.   Death brings us to the threshold of one of two possibilities: individual annihilation or encounter with God!   Either possibility is fearful.  The first brings all that we cherish and dream for to an end; the second brings us face-to-face with the One who has the right to judge the goodness and sinfulness of my life.

For the disciples of every age, the presence of the Resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ who died on the cross and now lives, destroys the inevitability of our eternal end.  Jesus is risen, and He manifests Himself in real and tangible form for every disciple who invites Him into his inner, upper room!   Fear of death, indeed all fear dissipates as one’s personal relationship with the Risen Lord increases.

The second possibility is also robbed of fear because the Risen Lord brings with Him the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of sins.  No longer must the believer be afraid of the judgment of God.  Forgiveness of sins is available through the Gift of the Holy Spirit.  For everyone who embraces Christ as Savior, and is sorry and confesses their sins, forgiveness is available.  Christ gives the Holy Spirit and the power to forgive sins to His Church and His priests who minister in His name!  Fear not — Peace be with youWhose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.

In other words, the Risen Lord is the manifestation of God’s power to transform death into life in the Resurrection, and the manifestation of God’s power to bring people from the death of sin to eternal life in Christ!   THIS TRUTH BRINGS PEACE – Freedom from Fear!!

This divine mercy and peace is available to us all.  The peace that Christ gives cannot be given by the world, because the world cannot reconcile us to God.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ reconciles us to the Father, and we can receive that mercy and peace from Christ in the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist.  The mercy we receive in these sacraments can transform us from fear to peace, from death to life!

The peace the disciples received through the realization of Divine Forgiveness is the peace they and disciples of every age bring to the world.  Disciples are commissioned with the power of the Holy Spirit to bring the mercy of God to every man, women and child: Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained. 

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If you would like to learn more about the Holy Spirit, please consider registering for our Charismatic retreat that will be held June 10-12.

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

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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