Commentary on the Gospel of
Both of the readings for today’s liturgy are literally last words. The first reading contains St. Paul’s voice concluding the Acts of the Apostles; and the Gospel of John closes with a question by St. Peter. Peter and Paul, the disciples most closely associated with spreading the Good News of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is surely a fit ending. What comes to an end today, the season of Easter celebration, culminates in the feast of Pentecost, the sending of the Holy Spirit to the disciples – which we will celebrate tomorrow.
Pentecost, then, is the final segment of God’s plan for rescuing us through the mystery of the resurrection (including the resurrection itself, the ascension of Jesus back to His Father and finally Pentecost). We have been celebrating throughout the entire Easter season the work of the apostles as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles. The disciples are lead by the Holy Spirit to share with others the wonders and the joy of Easter.
Pentecost is considered the birth of the church. We have been seeing the past seven weeks since the resurrection how the disciples continued the mission of Jesus in Jerusalem, in the surrounding areas, to the farthest parts of the known world, and all the inhabitants of that world, Jew and Gentile alike.Surely Peter, Paul and the other disciples caught the fire of the Holy Spirit and warmed the hearts of those who heard them.
And so these last words are, from our perspective today, in many respects a kind of beginning. We are invited to be like Peter and Paul: just as they preached the joy of the Christ Risen, so are we invited to receive that same Easter joy and then to share it with those with whom we come in contact.