On the evening of that day, the first day after the Sabbath, the doors were locked where the disciples were, because of their fear of the Jews.Â But Jesus came, and stood among them, and said to them, â€śPeace be with you!â€ťÂ Then he showed tem his hands and his side.Â The disciples kept looking at the Lord and were full of joy.Â Again Jesus said to them, â€śPeace be with you!â€ť As the Father has sent me, I send you.â€ťÂ After saying this, he breathed on them, and said to them, â€śreceive the Holy Spirit!â€ťÂ Those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, those whose sins you retain, they are retained.â€ť
â€”John 20: 19 â€“ 23
â€śHappy Birthdayâ€ť to us for we are the Church.Â On Pentecost, the Church was born.Â It was believed that the descend Â of the Holy Spirit was the beginning of the Church established by the apostles with Christ as the cornerstone.Â Christ is the foundation of the Christian community and He sent the Holy Spirit to continue the task of buildingÂ Godâ€™s kingdom.Â After Pentecost, they went to the different corners of the world, Jews or Gentiles, to proclaim that Jesus is Lord.Â That was the beginning of the Church and since then God has never left us for the Holy Spirit hasÂ always been with us and will always be with us.Â The Spirit of God is sanctifying His Church and guiding all believers into the way to God.Â Pentecost is the birth of the Church for it marked the disciplesâ€™ proclamation of Jesus as one true God and true man.
The Paraclete (Holy Spirit)Â descended upon the apostles and Mary and they spoke different languages.Â Pentecost is one of the major feasts of the Church to signal the end of the Easter season.Â Now, the Holy Spirit is sent by the Father through the Son so that we willÂ be united with the Father.Â When we are one with God, we are in â€śPeace.â€ťÂ When one is in peace, one is in â€śshalomâ€ť or â€śsalaam,â€ť meaning one is whole, united in God; and all of us participate in the creative and redemptive aspects of God.
No one had ever seen the Spirit.Â The Spirit is symbolized by metaphors or imagesâ€”like the air that blow and the air we breathe, Â the tongues of fire or a dove, the life- giving water, among others. The Spirit cannot be seen butÂ can be felt when one Â experiencesÂ the presence and love of God.Â When one is confused and disturbed,Â the Holy Spirit is that voice seeking for truth.Â Since the Spirit is one with the Father and with the Son, the Paraclete is Â our counselor, our light, our guide, our salvation.Â Through these years, the task of the Spirit of God is to make us holy, fitting and pleasing to God.Â When we are touchedÂ by the Spirit, we cannot but proclaim and communicate such an experience.Â When we are captured by the divine inspiration and our hearts burning, we can zestfully announce that experience of conversion and faith.
The Holy Spirit inspires us to find the real meaning of our existence, the core reason of our living. The Holy Spirit never abandons us. We come to a realization when we ask and pray for the Spirit of God to accompany us in this journey of life. From spiritual retreat, one good friend shared with me a text message:Â â€śLife in this world is the hardest course we could ever take. It could only be taken once, no review, no masteral, no doctorate.Â We donâ€™t have any other Dean but God. And once we have graduated from this school we are done and gone.Â Only eternity can tell our rating:Â Pass or Failed.Â So live each day as if it is our baccalaureate service, because in this course weâ€™ll never know the exact date of our closing ceremonies.â€ť Â I do not know if this were her original reflection or from other author, but she was humble enough to recognize God as God and her everything.Â Total submission to the will of God is enough for her for she will live and enjoy life once and there is no a repeat of it.Â Indeed, she found that meaning of her life.
And when the Spirit of God lives in us, then we are with God and we only do what is the will of God for us.Â When we receive God, we are empowered to proclaim the good news to all nations. Â As Christians today, Â we are given the mandate and authority to be instruments and channels of Godâ€™ mercy and forgiveness.Â Real forgiveness is only given if one is contrite and ready to amend hisÂ own life for the better.Â It would be a futile act if one is not sincere in asking forgiveness. To forgive and not to forgive is the business of God, but to seek and ask for pardon and salvation is the predicament of mankind.
On this great feast of Pentecost, let us be guided by some questions and thoughts in our reflection:
Do I gaze on the face of God?Â Do I feel joy when I am with the Lord?
Am I at peace?Â Am I whole as a person? Am I in shalom, in salaam?
Have I received the Spirit of God and have allowed myself to be controlled by Him?
Have I forgiven others? Have I forgiven myself?
Prayer:Â â€śCome Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.Â Send forth your Spirit that they shall be created and they shall renew the face of the earth.â€ťÂ O Spirit of God, come to us and fill us with your love.Â Guide our steps into way of wholeness and peace, inspire us Â to do your will, and lead us Â to the right path of this life.Â May you keep us in Your bosom and kindle Â our hearts Â with your tender love and devotion.Â And all these Father we ask through Christ our Lord and with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.