REFLECTION FOR TODAY
May 23, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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.” Jn.20:22-23
Happy birthday! Today, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost. Pentecost is traditionally celebrated 50 days after the resurrection of the Lord and 10 days after His Ascension. It reminds us of the beginning of the third moment of the tripartite revelations of the Holy Trinity. Therefore, it is a principal and indispensable moment in the life of the Church. Yes, because it is on this day that the Church was born.
We use different images to express the Holy Spirit, like wind, dove, flame, breath, or dewfall, but none of these ever fully capture or articulate who the Holy Spirit is. The best we can do is to rejoice for the Holy Spirit is among us.
In our gospel reference today, Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, “receive the holy Spirit” By breathing on them the Holy Spirit, Jesus commissioned the disciples to continue his work by making the Father known, bringing others to belief, and thus overcoming sin in the deepest sense.
When Jesus breathed on them, He gave them power, life, and grace to conquer the world and every challenge. The same breath of God that gave life to the human person at created, it is that same breath that Jesus is giving us to set our world on fire.
As we celebrate the birthday of the Church this Pentecost, we need to permit the Holy Spirit to direct our lives; by constantly remembering and appreciating His Holy Presence within us, especially through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. We need to fortify ourselves with the help of the Holy Spirit against all types of temptations in our lives. We also need to seek the assistance of the Holy Spirit in our thoughts, words, and deeds, and in the breaking of our evil habits, and by listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us through the Bible and through the good counsel of others.
In addition, we need to cultivate the spirit of forgiveness. Learning to forgive is a lifelong task, but the Holy Spirit is with us to make us agents of forgiveness. If we are prepared on this day of Pentecost to receive the Holy Spirit into our lives, we can have confidence that our lives will be marked by the Spirit of forgiveness.
Reflect, today, upon the breath of Jesus as he says, “receive the Holy Spirit”. Reflect on your relationship with the Holy Spirit and the important duty you must extend that invitation to others. Pray to the Holy Spirit, asking for an increase in His seven-fold gifts in your life so that You can help share the saving message of the gospel to those whom God wants to reach through you.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ our Lord. Amen. Jesus, I trust in You.