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Holy Spirit is our lifeline of grace

Based on Acts: 2:1-11; 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13; Jn 20:19-23

All three readings for Pentecost Sunday highlight the Holy Spirit’s power and illustrate how the church began to grow.

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 shared the Good News with the large crowds, from every nation, gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish Pentecost.

Everyone heard the apostles in their native language – astonishing the crowds. Thousands became Jesus’ followers.

In First Corinthians, Paul teaches the Holy Spirit gives each of us different spiritual gifts to use 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, he 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 holy, powerful moment, the apostles received the strength and authority they needed to carry on Jesus’ mission. That responsibility and authority has been passed down through the sacrament of holy orders.

How 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, the birthday of the church, 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. We, too, are to carry on Jesus’ mission.

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