The Holy Spirit is the greatest Gift of God
The feast of the Pentecost is the biggest one together with Easter. The Greek word Pentecost literally means “fiftieth day” after Easter, when we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. On the Ascension Day last Sunday, we heard that Jesus was raised high, then a cloud took him out of the eyes of the Apostles and went up to heaven.
But his going to the Father does not mean that he left the Apostles (and us) alone! Before going to heaven, he promised to send the Holy Spirit.
In today’s Gospel, we hear that already on the evening of Resurrection Sunday, Jesus went to the Apostles, blew on them saying: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” From this “breath”, which starts from within Jesus, we understand that the Holy Spirit is Jesus Himself, it is the breath of love that is born from his heart and that is transmitted to the Apostles.
The Holy Spirit is the breath of Jesus, it is he himself who enters in us and who continues to walk with us, who is always close to us, who makes us strong in doing good. The first breath of the Spirit that Jesus breathes on the Apostles gives them the power to forgive sins, just as he did in his earthly life. Even the successors of the Apostles (Bishops and Priests) have received this power and every time we go to confession, if we are repentant and promise not to do evil anymore, we actually receive God’s forgiveness.
And what happened on the day of the Pentecost?
“On the day of Pentecost, the Apostles were all together in the same place. Suddenly from heaven came a sound like the rush of a violent wind and filled the whole house where they were”. After this, tongues of fire appeared to them and rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. As we know, the Holy Spirit is “divine presence“, it is like a fire that purifies and transforms.
In other words, the Holy Spirit “takes possession” of the Apostles, purifies and makes them new. The Spirit of Jesus makes the Apostles become so courageous that they will go to the whole world to proclaim the Good News – all which shows us that God loves us and that he gives us his love through his Son Jesus!
Because of the gift of the Spirit the disciples were able to constitute themselves as a Church. The same Spirit, as the main protagonist, would continue to be at work in the Church. When we speak of the Church with a capital “C”, we do not speak of a building, rather we speak of all of us, gathered together as a community that believes in God.
Dear brethren, each of us received the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Baptism and later on on the day of our Confirmation. It is the greatest gift that we could ever receive from the Lord. As we thank the Lord for this wonderful gift, let us not forget to abide by the promptings of the Spirit so that we may always bear good fruits, fruits in abundance.
Happy Feast of the Pentecost!