Weekend of 4 June 2017

Pentecost | Year A

John 20:19-23

In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you,’ and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.’
‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’
 

 

Reflection

Throughout his ministry Jesus responded to the burden of sin carried by people he interacted with. The forgiveness he offered gave people freedom from their burden, allowed lifestyles to change, and opened eyes and hearts to a new way of living. 

Prior to leaving the disciples Jesus focuses on the power the Holy Spirit will confer upon them. He does not mention gifts such as preaching and teaching, or the gifts of the Holy Spirit (although undoubtedly the disciples received these gifts).  Forgiveness of sin, which had been at the heart of Jesus’ own ministry, is also to be central in the ministry of the disciples.
 
A simple and very personal way to celebrate Pentecost is to seek forgiveness for our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The power of Jesus’ forgiveness has been passed down through the centuries, via the apostles and the ordained ministers of the Catholic Church. 
 
Approached honestly, the Sacrament of Reconciliation confers the same peace of heart and freedom from the burden of sin that Jesus brought in person when he was on earth.
 
It is ours whenever we choose to accept it.  A personal Pentecost can occur any time during the year.