May 31, 2020 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."
Opening Prayer: Lord, I have been preparing my heart this week for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Send forth your Spirit to enlighten my mind as I reflect on this Scripture.
1. The Doors Were Locked: The doors of the room where the disciples were gathered was locked because they were afraid of the Jews. The doors of our hearts are also locked when we are afraid. A wise confessor once told me to prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation by asking myself, “What was I afraid of when I did/said/thought that?” Sin often happens because we’re afraid. Fears can point to self-love, worldly attachments, or vanities. St. John tells us that “perfect love casts out fear.” When we identify our fears, let us ask the Lord to replace them with love. And the grace of Reconciliation strengthens us to reopen the doors to our hearts.
2. Peace Be with You: Our Lord knows the perfect antidote to fear: peace. He bestowed peace on his apostles who were locked in the upper room. And he always brings peace to us when we let him into our moments of prayer or activity. Peace is his “trademark,” a sure sign of his presence in our life. Even when life circumstances challenge us, Jesus brings peace with him if we invite him in. Why do we hesitate? Come Holy Spirit! Reign in my heart and cast out all fear.
3. Receive the Holy Spirit!: There is no better gift on earth or in heaven than to receive the Holy Spirit. Our Lord promised us the Paraclete, and when we are in a state of grace, the Holy Spirit is alive and active within us. The Holy Spirit brings invaluable gifts (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord) and fruits (charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, forbearance, gentleness, faith, modesty, self-control, and chastity). The Sanctifier works to make us holy and worthy of eternal life with the Holy Trinity. So, when our Lord said to his apostles, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he was saying also to us on this Pentecost Sunday, “Receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit.” Come Holy Spirit. Come!
Conversing with Christ: Lord, please send your Holy Spirit in abundance! I need grace and inspiration to live a life worthy of you. I want to know you more personally and revere you with the gift of fear of the Lord. Please bless me with special graces on this feast day! Allow me to pray in the Spirit.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will use the resources below to pray the “Promises of Christ,” and personalize and add to them as I scour the Scriptures in the coming weeks.
For Further Reflection: A shortlist of the promises of Christ:
God will never leave you (Deuteronomy 31:6).
God will always protect you (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
God will give you strength for every battle (Isaiah 40:31).
God will give you the graces necessary to endure all suffering (2 Corinthians 12:9).
God will forgive you even when you have sinned against him (1 John 1:9).
God will never stop loving you (Ephesians 3:17-19).