PENTECOST SUNDAY: JOHN 20: 19-23
Today, we celebrate the Solemn Feast of Pentecost and it is celebrated as the birthday of the Church, the day when the Holy Spirit came to the apostles and breathed energy into their faith. It celebrates the day when the apostles were strengthened by the Holy Spirit and accepted the mission handed over to them by Jesus, to bring the message of God’s love and salvation to all nations.
Pentecost is a celebration of a new beginning and celebration of God’s unconditional love. Pope Francis is an example of how God’s love brings about freshness and newness of life, especially in our spiritual lives. We have seen that all the words and actions of Pope Francis have been centering on God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness. The gift of the Holy Spirit is with us to make us agents of God’s unfailing love and forgiveness. Our challenge is to respond and be open to the Holy Spirit and live out the Pentecost in everyday life. We receive the Spirit not to keep it to ourselves but to use and share with others.
Have you ever heard about the “dead balloon”?
The dead balloon has no life and no power.
The balloon does not move because it has no power and no air inside.
Take a “dead balloon,” and blow the air in it, after the balloon is filled with the air we can release it for flying.
The balloon will fly in the air wherever the wind takes it.
In the same way, Jesus did this to the disciples. Jesus breathed on the disciples and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” After the disciples received the HolySpirit, they became new people with new energy and new spirits and ready to fly to the whole world to spread the message of Jesus.
We know what will happen to the balloon after a long flight in the sky. Gradually the balloon loses air and becoming flat and dead again. On the one hand, we are not like that dead balloon; Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will be with us forever. We will never run out of the Spirit’s power that we received at baptism, however, we need to renew this power through the sacraments over and over again. Every week, we return to church as a filling station and are renewed as we receive Jesus word and sacrament. Let us share Jesus’ message of love with our brothers and sisters wherever we are.
On this solemn feast day, we are invited to experience and appreciate the transforming, sanctifying, and strengthening the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. This is also a day to renew the promises made to God during our Baptisms and Confirmations, to profess our faith, and practice it.
In the gospel, we heard that after Jesus’ death the disciples were so afraid of the Jews that the disciples closed themselves in the upper room with the doors locked, confused and fearful. Jesus appeared to them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit transformed them and gave them courage. They became united and fearless, with a clear sense of their call from God.
We, too, have been strengthened by the grace of The Holy Spirit. We can come out from our own “upper rooms” of fear, confusion, selfishness, and pride. Life is filled with “upper room” moments. Let us check the doors of our own upper rooms. Are the doors open or are we hiding our faith where no one can challenge us on it? Are we experiencing Pentecost in our everyday lives? Let us be renewed by The Spirit and open ourselves to God’s presence and power and become vessels of grace, peace, and reconciliation!