PentA20. Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11. At “the time for Pentecost” “suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind.” “There appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” “Now there were devout Jews from every nation,” who spoke many different languages. “They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,” “We hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.” One God yet three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How often have we heard of the Holy Spirit who is the One given to us for our daily sanctification by the Trinity? Only saints are allowed in heaven; the Holy Spirit enables us to become saints, if we only cooperate with him daily. Nothing is impossible for God. The Holy Spirit accomplishes whatever he wishes since He is truly God but God will never force holiness upon us. We ourselves must choose to die daily to our own self-centered tendencies so as to belong to the beneficent Will and Love of God. The Spirit enabled the Apostles to speak miraculously. If we belong to the Spirit, he will miraculously enable us to be holy, despite the devil, our own natural desires and the ways of the world around us.
John 20:19-23. The first day of week after the crucifixion was Easter Sunday, the same day that John the Evangelist, the author of this Sunday’ gospel, marks as Pentecost, thus differing from the other three gospels writers. Perhaps it is only that his recall of events was different, leaving our humanness as the reason for the discrepancy. Nevertheless, John speaks of the locked doors and the fear of the apostles in contrast to the divine capacity of Jesus to pass through locked doors and to bring peace to the fear-filled disciples. He shows the disciples his hands and his side that had been pierced as proof that he is the risen Jesus and not a ghost or an impostor. Then Jesus commissions them to go as he had gone out to convert the people. Next he immediately empowers the disciples by giving them the Holy Spirit so to enable them to accomplish the commission he has just given them. He next gives them the power to open the gates of heaven through the forgiveness of sins or to keep the gates shut to those whose sins are retained. Now the gates are opened by a life lived in Christ or retained locked by a life that shuts out Christ. The power that Jesus had exercised to open locked doors or to keep them shut is given to the disciples and their successors. The Holy Spirit works through the Church, the followers of Christ, to enable us through the centuries to become holy and so to enter into heaven.
1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13. “Brothers and sisters: No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” (Please also read Matthew 16:15-16) In other words, God enables us to declare the truth. I personally believe that God and only God is the source of ALL goodness. Even when a person is agnostic or hates God, if they do any good that is truly good, God is the root source of that goodness that they have just done without them knowing that it was God who enabled them to do good. There can be no goodness in this universe unless that good work has God as the one who empowered it to be. “There are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” When we live in union with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit often uses us as his visible instrument in this world to do his work. If what we do is good, the radical or root source of that goodness is the Spirit who is working through us. “We were all given to drink of one Spirit.” The Spirit pours himself into us, the vessels who choose to be open to him, so that the life and gifts we have are from him to build the Church. In as much as we have chosen to be the instruments of the Spirit without whom we could do nothing good, we deserve a small portion of the credit. However, by far the credit belongs to the Spirit.