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Holy Spirit is lifeline of grace

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

It’s Pentecost – 50 days after Jesus’ Resurrection – the end of the Easter season and celebrated as the birthday of the church. The power and help of the Holy Spirit highlight all three readings.

In Acts, Luke describes the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and Mary in the form of fiery tongues. Suddenly, empowered with the Holy Spirit, the apostles share the Good News with the large crowds, from every nation, gathered in Jerusalem for the Jewish Pentecost.

All the people – no matter their language – understand the apostles. The people are amazed.

The apostles preach and teach about God’s love, work miracles, forgive sins and baptize in Jesus’ name. Thousands become Jesus’ followers. The new believers are called Christians and live by loving and serving God and others.

In First Corinthians, Paul teaches the Holy Spirit gives each of us different spiritual gifts to use for the good of others. 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 love for 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 is Jesus to grant his church the forgiveness of sins that he won by his death on Calvary. That forgiveness is granted in the sacrament of reconciliation.

Pentecost is still happening. The Holy Spirit lives in 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. “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.”