Jn 20: 19-23
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then 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.”When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
God’s Wind and Breath
If you think about it, the very identity of God is about life and breath. In the book of Genesis it is a mighty wind that separates the void into light and darkness. Moses received the ten commandments on Mt. Sinai in a mighty storm of wind. Jesus calmed the violent winds on the stormy Sea of Galilee, thereby saving the apostles from drowning. Jesus’ death on Calvary happens in the midst of lightning, thunder, and a mighty wind. In the resurrection gospels of past weeks Jesus breathes on the apostles and promises the coming of the Holy Spirit. And in today’s Pentecost narrative, it was another mighty wind that signaled the arrival of God’s life-giving Spirit.
Today’s feast of Pentecost gives us the opportunity to breathe in the new life of the Holy Spirit. Amidst the ordinary business of engaging the messiness of life, we speak words of peace and possibility, forgiveness and hope as we breathe the Spirit of Jesus into the nitty-gritty pieces of our daily living.
If the Holy Spirit of God, breathing over our world this Pentecost 2014 is indeed a creative, powerful, fire-filled spirit of life and possibility, think what would happen if I have the courage to say “yes” to the Risen Lord. If I truly allow the gifts of the Holy Spirit to penetrate my heart, our home, all the corners of our waiting world? Come, Holy Spirit! Kindle in us the fire of your justice and love, your hope and peace. You will renew the face of our earth!
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Holy Spirit of God, in you we live and move and have our being. Send your mighty wind of energy and purpose, peace and possibility into all the corners of our waiting world. Breathe the spirit of the Risen Jesus deep into my heart. Come, Holy Spirit! Come, Mighty God!