Pentecost – C May 23rd, 2010

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Dear Friends:

Today we have come to the feast of Pentecost, the most solemn day of the year, after that of Easter. The two feasts are intimately connected: the Feast of the Resurrection of Jesus marks the beginning of Easter time which is brought to completion by the feast of Pentecost. In the old Testament Pentecost was the feast of the celebration of the giving of the Law to Moses on the fiftieth day after the Israelites departure (Passover) from Egypt (Ex.Ch.19-20). In the New Testament, Pentecost is the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus on the fiftieth day of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Ten days after the Ascension.

The church was born in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit came upon those gathered in the Upper Room. Thus the Pentecost marks the beginning of the church of God. He infused courage and confidence among the frightened disciples of Jesus and transformed them from being a band of frightened men into fearless preachers of the gospel. He was not sent for a short time but to abide with us for ever. So the Power of the Holy Spirit is present even today.

When we come to the gospel today, we see Jesus breathed on his disciples and said to them,” Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (Jn.20.23) . The first thing the Spirit does when coming to a man is to heal him of the disease of sin; to cleanse his soul. For example, the denial of Peter, the ambition of the Apostles, all their spiritual miseries were wiped out the moment the Spirit was given them. Hence the first fruit of the Spirit is forgiveness. Secondly the Spirit brings peace to the hearts of men. Once sin disappears, the consequences of sin, dissension, anxiety, sadness disappear too. The disciples of Jesus felt peace within themselves and with each other. They also experienced unspeakable joy in the midst of suffering, persecution and death.

In his letter to the Christians of Galatians St. Paul notes down a long list of gifts, the Spirit brings along: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness and self-control. (Gal.5.22) Let us therefore, pray that the Lord may once again fill us with the Holy Spirit so that we may enjoy the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Fr. Chris