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Holy Spirit lives within our hearts

Based on Acts 2:1-11; 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Rom 8:8-17; Jn 20:19-23 or 14:15-16, 23b-26
Triple coverage. All three readings today highlight the power and help of the Holy Spirit.

In Acts, Luke describes the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and Mary in the form of fiery tongues. Suddenly empowered with the Holy Spirit, the apostles go out to share the Good News with the large crowds gathered in Jerusalem, from every known nation at the time, to celebrate the Jewish Pentecost. Everyone who heard the apostles heard them in their native language – astonishing the crowds. Thousands become Jesus’ followers.

In First Corinthians, Paul teaches that the Holy Spirit gives each of us spiritual gifts and work to do for the good of the whole faith community – the body of Christ. Through the sacraments, the Holy Spirit is our lifeline of grace, helping us to pray, to understand what we learn about God and our faith and to grow in our love of and service to God and others.

In John’s Gospel, Jesus says, “‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ And when he had said this, be breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.’”

At this very holy and powerful moment, the apostles received the strength and authority they needed to carry on Christ’s mission. That responsibility and authority has been passed down through the sacrament of holy orders. How eager, loving and merciful was Jesus to grant his church the forgiveness of sins that he won by his death on Calvary. That forgiveness is now carried out in the sacrament of reconciliation.

Pentecost is for everyone. ‘The Holy Spirit lives within our hearts to help us grow in faith through prayer and reflection on the Scriptures, through the sacraments and through the preaching and teaching of the clergy.

The Holy Spirit is now the power source and life of the church. “Come, Holy Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.”