Commentary on the Gospel of
On the day of Pentecost, Jesus fulfilled his promise to send the Advocate or Paraclete. The gift of the Spirit would enable them to fulfill Jesus’ commission to preach the Gospel to all nations. Jesus gave to the Apostles the power and authority to forgive sins. “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.” These wonderful words, which bind together inseparably the presence of the Holy Spirit with the gift of forgiveness, are referred to directly in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But they have a much wider meaning. Those words remind us of the Christian vocation we all have, to love and forgive as we have been loved and forgiven in the world of today, which is often fiercely judgmental and vengeful.
And where the Spirit comes, radical upheavals and transformation always happen: barriers fall, doors are opened wide; all the towers built by human hands and designed by “the wisdom of this world” shake; fear, passivity and quietism disappear; initiatives are developed and courageous decisions are made. Who is dissatisfied and aspires the renewal of the world and of man can count on the Spirit: nothing can resist its power.
We received the Holy Spirit no less than Peter and Paul and the apostles did. This same Spirit wants to help us draw close to Jesus, and He wants to make us into his instrument of salvation. So we must take some time today to accept the challenge. And then try our best to follow the apostles’ example by looking for opportunities to share the good news so that the Spirit can touch more and more people. Also, on the day of Pentecost, as they apostles received the Spirit, the gift of tongues, they were able to understand each other though they speak in different languages. Likewise, we as individuals have a gift of tongues which all men can understand. It is the gift of love infused into us by the Holy Spirit. Love unites, love is a common language, by means of love we can speak to all nations.
And like Jesus's first disciples, we need also the Spirit in order to shed our fear and go out to the streets and witness to what God raising Christ from the dead really means for our world: justice, mercy, compassion toward the poor, community with one another, self-sacrifice and forgiveness. This is why Pentecost has been called the "birthday" of the Church. And the most important lesson at this birthday celebration is to remind ourselves that this amazing power to communicate the Good News and to move hearts and minds is not due to our efforts or our cleverness. It comes from God's Spirit that enables us to witness to the One who suffered, died and rose again for us to transform our fears -- and our world.