Gospel – John 20: 19 – 23
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.”
Reflection on the Gospel
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
First Point: The holy Apostles remained in seclusion and applied themselves to prayer1 from the Ascension of Jesus Christ until the day of Pentecost. This was a feast that the Jews celebrated in memory of the giving of the Old Law to Moses on Mount Sinai
On this day the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and on all those who were gathered with them (2) in the large upper room. He came to bring them a new law, the law of grace and love, and he poured himself out upon them like a strong, driving wind. (3)
This was to show that just as God in creating man had, (4) as Holy Scripture expresses it, breathed into him the breath of life, (5) so too in communicating a new life to his disciples to live only by grace, he breathed into them his divine Spirit to give them some share in his own divine life. The Spirit of God also ought to come and to rest upon you on this sacred day, to make it possible for you to live and to act only by the Spirit’s action in you. Draw him within you by offering him a well-disposed heart.
Second Point: The Acts of the Apostles tells us that this wind, the symbol of the Spirit of God, who poured himself out upon the disciples of Jesus Christ, filled the entire house. This illustrates what is said immediately afterward, that those who were gathered there were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (6) At that moment the holy Apostles received such an abundance of grace that all Jerusalem was filled with the sound of their voices. (7) They spoke about nothing except the risen Jesus Christ. They had the words of Holy Scripture constantly on their lips, and these words served to guide them in all they did. They had all fled after seeing Christ die on the cross; they had gone into hiding, afraid of death. But after receiving the Holy Spirit, they came together again and gathered in the same place; there they encouraged one another and urged one another to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ. In such suffering they considered themselves blessed, and they rejoiced. (8) You need the fullness of the Spirit of God in your state, for you ought to live and be guided entirely by the spirit and the light of faith; only the Spirit of God can give you this disposition.
Third Point: The Acts of the Apostles adds that when the disciples were all gathered together, there appeared to them separate tongues of fire, which came to rest on each of them. Immediately they began to speak in various languages, according to the grace given to them by the Holy Spirit. (9) It is amazing that these men, up to then so earthly minded that they could not grasp the sacred truths that Jesus Christ taught them, were all at once so enlightened that they could now explain clearly and with all imaginable accuracy the words of Holy Scripture! As a result, those present were completely surprised and filled with amazement. (10) In a little time they converted a very great number of them, (11) because, as Saint Peter told them, the Spirit of God had been poured out upon them. (12) You carry out a work that requires you to touch hearts, but this you cannot do except by the Spirit of God. Pray to him to give you today the same grace that he gave the holy Apostles. Ask him that after filling you with his Holy Spirit to sanctify you, he will also communicate himself to you to procure the salvation of others.
1. Acts 1:13–14 5. Gn 2:7 9. Acts 2:3–4 2. Acts 2:1–4 6. Acts 2:2–4 10. Acts 2:12 3. Jer 31:33–34; Rom 8:2 7. Acts 2:5–6 11. Acts 2:41 4. Acts 2:2 8. Acts 5:41 12. Acts 2:33
St. John Baptist de La Salle
St. John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.