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Gospel Reading for May 19, 2024 – John 20: 19-23

“HARVEST”

Solemnity of Pentecost

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “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 to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

————

Today is called the birthday of the Church because as described in the First Reading of today – “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then 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 the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” Suddenly, they were no longer afraid; no longer hiding for fear of the Jews. The apostles started proclaiming the Gospel in different tongues, such that all who heard, understood them.

Unlike Jesus, who went back to the Father, the Holy Spirit remains with us to this very day. If we only are fully aware of the POWERHOUSE in our midst, we will not always give as a reason, human weakness for our failures and sins. As Jesus said in John 14: 15-19: “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate TO HELP YOU AND BE WITH YOU FOREVER —the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”

Jesus made sure we will not be left alone in our struggles, especially against sin and all the challenges it brings. He sent us HIS OWN SPIRIT so that all our needs to stay connected to God are within our reach, making sure we can spend eternity with him after our life on earth.

Are we wanting to deepen our faith in God, contemplating through the created things around us? We can pray to the Holy Spirit for WISDOM. Are we having difficulty when reading Sacred Scriptures? We can pray to the Holy Spirit for UNDERSTANDING. Are we finding it difficult to judge whether our actions may be right or wrong? We can pray to the Holy Spirit for COUNSEL. Do we need courage to stand up for what is right in the face of adversity? We can pray to the Holy Spirit for FORTITUDE. Do we want to know where God is leading us in this life? We can pray to the Holy Spirit for KNOWLEDGE. Do we desire to worship and serve God out of love? We can pray to the Holy Spirit for PIETY. Do we want to make sure that there is always hope in our world today? We can pray to the Holy Spirit for FEAR OF THE LORD for the whole world. Jesus must be telling us today, “Not to worry; I got you covered!”

And, come to think of it – for the Jews, Pentecost was a celebration of the Harvest, a sort of thanksgiving for everything received from God, hence, offering them back to him. Receiving the Holy Spirit on Pentecost is receiving THE VERY BEST OF THE “HARVEST.” Everything we need has been given to us. We just need “to tap our resources” (forgive the expression) and offer ourselves back to Him!

Come, Holy Spirit! Fill our hearts with your love!

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