May 28, 2023
John 20: 19-23
As the Father sent me, so I send you.
Today’s scriptures begin with the drama of Pentecost. There is a powerful wind, and tongues of fire that rest on the head of each of those gathered in the upper room. Crowds of devout Jews hear the wind and then they hear the words of these Galileans spoken in the languages of people “from every nation under heaven.”
Earlier (1:13-14) we have been told that following the Ascension – when Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, “…they [the 11 apostles] went to the upper room where they were staying…All these joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” No doubt, it was in this same room, with the same cast of characters “joined in continuous prayer” that they came together again on the Jewish feast of Pentecost.
In sharp contrast is John’s account. On the same day that various people have reported seeing Jesus alive, the disciples have gathered in a locked room, fearful of the Jews. (I like to think that Mary and the other women were among those disciples.) Jesus offers a greeting of peace, shows them his wounds, and a much less dramatic “Pentecost” takes place. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Jesus simply breathes on them – “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Sometimes, that is the way we experience the coming of the Spirit. Seldom is it dramatic. We might be frightened or confused as were those gathered in the upper room. A wise word from a mentor or friend, or a chance remark from someone we don’t even know, brings a sense of peace, and we experience some clarity, or recognize where we are being sent – literally or figuratively.
Then again, there are times when we need some drama, when we don’t recognize the more simple signs of the Spirit and need “a powerful wind,” a dramatic intervention that enables us to see the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Whether dramatic or simple, when the Spirit permeates us, we know that the gifts we receive are not only for us; we are to share them in service to God’s people, as Paul reminds us in his letter to the Corinthians.
And so we pray:
Spirit of God, be near to us now, radiance from above.
Open our hearts, our spirits inspire, Breath of the Fire of Love.
Wisdom of God, strengthen our faith, weakness and sorrow mend.
In times of stress, in times of pain, be to us guide and friend.
Mirror of truth, Hope in the Word, show us the Savior’s face.
Come to us now, fountain of Love, with your anointing grace.
VENI SANCTE SPIRITUS!
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.”
Meet Sister Edithann Kane, SNDdeN