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The Spirit is The New Law

Pentecost Sunday, Year A (28/05/2023)

(Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23)

Fr. Samuel Odeh

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).  The Holy Spirit is our rule of life.  Today we are celebrating Pentecost Sunday, fifty days after Easter.  On this day the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem following the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.  This day marks the end of the Easter season and the birthday of the Church.  We celebrate the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise to his disciples to send them another helper who will teach them how to please God and empower them to do good.  Just as on any birthday, the Holy Spirit lavishes the gifts of God upon us.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit are fortitude, piety, fear of God, counsel, understanding, wisdom, and knowledge.

All Christian believers now lead their lives through the power of the Spirit that enables them to declare that Jesus is their Lord, their Master, and their Savior.  No one can believe in Jesus without the help of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit changes our insides so that we are now able to produce the fruits that Jesus told us to bear.  The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness (Galatians 5:22).

In our gospel reading today the risen Jesus breathes on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).  The original Bible words for “spirit” in Hebrew (ruach) and Greek (pneumatos) both mean “breath”.  Jesus breathed the new life of God into his disciples just as God breathed life into Adam at the beginning of creation.  In doing so he gave them the power to forgive sins: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven…” (John 20:23).  Wherever the Holy Spirit enters, sin is destroyed.  In the sacramental life of the Church, we are cleansed of our sins and become a new creation in Christ in the Sacrament of Baptism.  The Church celebrates the mercy of God through the forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament of Penance.  Depending on God’s mercy and forgiving others is now a way of life for us thanks to the Holy Spirit.

Today also we celebrate the fact that God, through the Holy Spirit, has given a variety of ministries and services to us for the common good, for building the community of believers in unity.  Some of these services and ministries are the speaking of the wisdom and knowledge of God, the ministry of faith and bringing others to believe, the ministry of healing, the ministry of working miracles, the ministry of telling prophecies and understanding God’s plans for us, the ministry of telling the difference between good and bad spirits, the ministry of speaking in tongues and the ministry of interpreting tongues.  All these manifestations of the Holy Spirit are given for the good of us all and not for selfish purposes.  We pray today that we will welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives every day and go out to be the disciples that God has called us to be.

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, and in our hearts take up thy rest; come with thy grace and heavenly aid, To fill the hearts which thou hast made.” (Come Creator Spirit)


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