First Reading: Acts 2.1 – 11. Responsorial Psalm: 104. Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12. 3b –
7, 12 – 13. Gospel: John 20. 19 – 23.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John. Gory to you, O Lord.
It was evening on the day Jesus rose from the dead, the first day of the week, and the doors of
the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood
among them and said. “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and
his side. Then 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.”
When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If
you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, if you retain the sins of any, they are
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Our life is made up of multiple experiences. Joys and troubles, successes and failures, are woven
together in our daily life, animating or weighing us down. But often we are hardly aware of what’s
deepest in our own selves. What we grasp in our self-awareness is just a small island amid the wide
and deep sea that is life. Sometimes, even what’s most essential and decisive eludes us.
In his precious book Spiritual Experience, Karl Rahner invites us to consider the inmost
“experience” that occurs within us, though often unperceived: the living presence of God’s Spirit
who works from within our being. This experience can easily be smothered by many others that
occupy our time and attention. It is a quiet presence that can be drowned out by other impressions
and worries that take hold of our heart.
Mostly, we seem to think that what’s great and gratuitous must be something rare, but God’s grace
is not like that. There’s a tendency in certain parts of Christianity to consider the living presence of
the Spirit as something reserved to chosen and select people. But Rahner reminds us that God’s
Spirit is always alive in the human heart, since the Spirit is God’s own communication in the
innermost part of our existence. This Spirit of God is communicated and given even where
apparently nothing is happening. The Spirit is there, wherever life is received and the duties of
each day are carried out. “ The communion of the Holy Spirit in the Church restores to the baptized
the divine likeness lost through sin. He, then, gives us … the very life of the Holy Spirit, which is to
love as ‘God (has) loved us.’ This love is ….made possible because we have received ‘power’ from
the Holy Spirit” CCC 734 – 735. God’s Spirit works silently in the heart of regular and simple
people, in contrast to the pretension of those who feels themselves the sole possessors of the Spirit.
Pentecost invites us to seek that presence of God’s Spirit in our own selves, not to imagine it as a
trophy granted only to the elite. We need to welcome the Spirit of God who is the font of all life.
This Spirit is for everyone, because the immense Love of God is present to all the joys and groans,
efforts and yearnings that spring from the heart of all God’s children
The Holy Spirit used to be the forgotten person of the Trinity. Perhaps from being a spirit, since for
many people today, only tangible, material things are the whole of reality. The Father and Son
could be imaged as tangible because one took flesh and the other was portrayed with a venerable
beard, reflecting the vision about “the Ancient of Days” (Dan 7:9). Whatever the reason, even
among devout Christians the Holy Spirit is often overlooked. But there are good reasons not to
neglect the Spirit. The first is the promise of Jesus. At the Last Supper, he promised to send the
Spirit, to be an ever-reliable helper, advocate, counsellor, teacher, a replacement for Christ himself.
“Unless I go, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (Jn 16:7).
Today is a great day of rejoicing for the Church. The Holy Spirit has been poured out on us.
Divine life has been infused into human hearts! The Holy Church of God was born today! The
whole Church rejoices for the gifts of God’s own Spirit who is her Comforter and Counsellor!
The greatest fruit of redemption is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into our hearts. Jesus had
already promised at the Last Supper, “I will pray to the Father and He will give you another
Counsellor to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth (Jn 14:16).
For the apostles, this event meant they were no longer the same fear-stricken, ignorant men. Fear
had given way to courage. Until then they had stayed behind closed doors. But now they were
ready to launch out boldly into the open. They stepped out with undying faith in the indwelling
Spirit and were constantly amazed at His power working in and through them, His love flooding
their hearts. Nothing – neither persecution, nor sickness, nor even death – could stop them, so
animated were they by the Spirit. Indeed, it was a rebirth!
The outpouring of the Spirit had an effect on the community as a whole as well. After Jesus’ death
the disciples were in disarray. Now they found new strength in their oneness. “They were united
in mind and heart” (Acts 2: 45). At first feeling utterly helpless and leaderless without Jesus, they
were now ready to venture forth, at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, with a new self-confidence,
enthusiasm and initiative.
For the earliest Christians, the Spirit sent by Jesus a vital source of energy and missionary spirit.
They never forgot his first coming. Beforehand, they were timid and afraid, like children huddling
in an attic. When the Spirit came over them in a whooshing of wind, fire and speech, they were
transformed, “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4), suddenly, mysteriously, eloquent. Some
bystanders were less poetic in their reaction and sneered, “They’re drunk” (Acts 2:13). In a sense
they were right, for drunk they were, spiritually, intoxicated with the Spirit of Christ’s love and
eagerness to proclaim his message.
The Spirit was breathing among them, and from now on the prayer “Jesus is Lord” would be their
motto. They stayed spiritually drunk in this sense, never to be soberly timid again. For as long as
they lived, the Spirit coursed in their bloodstream. Every decision they made was Spirit-guided: the
choice of seven deacons; the admitting of Gentiles to the Church; the sending of Paul and Barnabas
on their missionary journey. Nor was the influence of the Spirit confined to the apostles. It was felt
at the ordinary level too, at the grassroots. They recognized charisms, gifts of the Spirit, given for
service in the Church, unusual gifts like healing or prophecy, designed to meet the needs of an
infant Church, and ordinary gifts too, that helped to build up the community: “love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self control” (Gal 5:22).
Whenever we exercise our charisms we honour the Spirit. When we are loyal to a demanding
partner, or console the bereaved, support the old or encourage the young, we are being led by the
Spirit. When we resist temptation, we honour the Spirit. When we respond to our better impulses,
the Spirit is working in us. The Spirit of God is the rising sap moving all that is best in us. It is
through our better instincts that the Spirit works. Our part is to work with him to reach our fullest
The Holy Spirit draws people together into a community of believers. We see in the first reading
how the disciples and the large crowd were bewildered, amazed, and full of wonder at what was
taking place. Through the power of the Sprit, language barriers crumbled, enabling easy
communication. After this extraordinary experience, the disciples spontaneously begin to preach.
Each member of the international community that was present at the time understood in his/her
own language what was proclaimed.
It is with this event that the Church was born. This was the first group of many that would come to
believe through the preaching of the disciples. As those who heard the word grew in their faith,
they discovered that they too had gifts given by the Spirit to share with the community.
It is that Spirit of God’s love we have received who bears the rich fruit in our lives that Paul speaks
about in today’s second reading. The Spirit is constantly at work in our lives, making us more like
Jesus. The ordinary, day to day expressions of goodness and kindness, of faithfulness and self-
control, of patience and gentleness, are all manifestations of the Spirit that has been given to us by
God. We can recognise the Spirit’s presence in the common happenings of everyday life. The
spiritual is not something other-worldly; it is humanity at its best. Saint Paul reminds us that the
gifts of the Spirit are given for the purpose of building up the body of Christ. In our baptism and
confirmation we too received the gifts of the Spirit. Sometimes we use these gifts selfishly rather
than for uniting and strengthening our faith community. Often it is a feeling of insecurity over the
gifts of others that forces us to act in such a way. This results in defensiveness and division. On
this day of Pentecost, the Spirit comes again to free us from this fear an insecurity.
Another obstacle to forming a loving community of believers is lack of forgiveness. Given the fact
that each of us is different from others in many respects – race, culture, customs, colour, education,
values – conflicts do arise. If there is to be unity in diversity, we must be willing to forgive one
another again and again. Each time we recognize the presence and roe of the Spirit in our lives and
accept His help, we experience Pentecost anew.
Today we pray for the gifts of the Spirit, which help us overcome prejudices and divisions. May
the Spirit lead us to understand those who are different from us, and come together in acceptance
and in mutual help, in a community of faith, hope and love.
“Evangelization is not possible without the action of the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit
the most convincing dialectic has no power over the heart”. Pope John Paul II.
The Holy Spirit: Divine Fire of Love: When the fire of the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples in the
upper room, the Holy Trinity was fully revealed and we received “the first installment of our
inheritance” (Eph 1:14) – the pledge that we, too, shall participate in the divine life.
To believe in the Holy Spirit is to believe in the divinely personified Love and Life exchanged
eternally between the Father and the Son is adored and glorified.”
To live “by the Spirit” does not mean rejecting our bodies; it means opening our bodies to the
indwelling of the Spirit so that what we do with our bodies is lead by the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the “uncreated Love – Gift . It can be said that in the Holy Spirit the intimate
life of the triune God becomes totally gift…It is the Holy Spirit who is the personal expression o
this self-giving, of this being love. He is Person –Love. He is Person –Gift” John Paul II, DV 10.
“God’s very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of love in the fullness of time,
God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, an
Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange” Catechism of the Catholic church no:
- “The personal relation of the Son to the Father is something that man cannot conceive of nor
the angelic powers even dimly see: and yet, the Spirit of the Son grants a participation in that very
relation to us who believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we are born of God” Catechism of the
Catholic Church 2780.
“The Holy Spirit is at work with the Father and the Son from the beginning to the completion of
the plan for our salvation” CCC 686. “Consubstantial with the Father and the Son, the Spirit is
inseparable from them. In both the inner life of the Trinity and his gift of love for the world…
when the Father sends his Word, he always sends his Breath”.
To “be in touch with Christ, we must first have been touched by the Holy Spirit” CCC 683. The
Holy Spirit is “personally the living water… welling up in us to eternal life” CCC 694.
Pentecost brought about a wonderful bonding of people from all over the Roman Empire. They
were united in admiring and praising the marvels of God. In spite of differences of language and
culture there was a real communion among them. Wherever communion of heart and mind exist
among people of different backgrounds, the Holy Spirit is at work. Unity in diversity is the mark of
the Spirit. Jesus points out another manifestation of the Spirit: the pursuit of truth. Only the Spirit
can lead us to the complete truth. If someone is genuinely seeking for truth, and willing to engage
in good works with others, there the Spirit is at work. Fullness of truth and love is always beyond
us; but the Spirit is given to lead us towards the complete truth and love, in all its height and depth.
God bless. Happy Pentecost