Our journey of remembrance does not end with Easter Sunday. The Father’s plan to reconcile humanity begins with the Incarnation, His sending of the Son, and is completed with the sending of the Holy Spirit by the Father and the Son.
It is the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who gives us the strength to respond to the Father, as Jesus did, by joining our imperfect response to the Father’ healing and forgiving love to Jesus’ perfect response. That is why we pray to the Father through Jesus in unity with the Holy Spirit.
On Pentecost we celebrate the public manifestation of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) with the descent of the spirit and Peter’s proclamation of Jesus as “both Lord and Messiah.” Because of the expansion of the Apostolic community by the baptism of three thousand on that occasion we often refer to Pentecost as the birthday of the Church.
However Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit was already active in the community. In the Liturgy of the Word last Sunday the Gospel of John relates of when Jesus appeared to the disciples on the first day of the week after his Resurrection, he breathed on them and said to them “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This event is sometimes referred to as the Johannine Pentecost because it is found only in John.
We have celebrated the gifts of the Holy Spirit In our Lenten blogs, Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord, but Paul also celebrates the Fruits of the Spirit that result from practicing the gifts in our lives. They are “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity and faithfulness. (Gal 5:22)
As we anticipate Pentecost we should remember that the power of the Spirit is within us, the gifts are ours, freely given, but we must be open to them, lest they be quenched. (1 Thess 5:19)
Photo Credit: Lawrence OP on Flickr