A. Quite often parishioners have asked me about their spiritual journeys, and the direction their journey seems to be taking. Pentecost often comes to my mind, because it is a special reminder that spiritual growth should have taken place in everyone’s life as a result of our Lenten and Easter season practices.
Actually, those efforts to practice and grow in the virtues aren't limited to special seasons; they need to be ongoing every day of our life! So, what do you think: are you really trying to grow spiritually? No one can do that without assistance from the Holy Spirit. Pentecost Sunday helps us to refocus on this reminder to call upon the Holy Spirit, asking for the daily transformation into the image of Jesus.
Our gospel today (John 20:19-23) prompts us to remember that peace and joy only come from the Holy Spirit sent by the Risen Jesus. In fact, we can't continue the mission of Jesus which is the duty of every Christian—without the assistance of and empowerment from the Holy Spirit.
The disciples were gathered in fear; but when given the gift of peace, the gift of the Holy Spirit, they now have the courage that's needed to confront sin in all of its appearances and disguises. The most important sin they need to
confront is the unbelief in the Risen Messiah, the Son of God – an unbelief that exists all around them. They receive not only the courage for confronting evil and ignorance, but also the empowerment to forgive sins.
This “commissioning” that Jesus gives to his disciples, and passed on to you and me, is nothing other than revealing the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives. We need to practice the virtues, carry out works of mercy, and be loving
and forgiving – and then others will see Christ in our actions, in us, and desire to know him. It is our mission as Catholics.
We should pray the Apostle’s Creed each day, to remind us of the important link between our faith in the Holy Spirit, our faith in the Church, and our faith in the communion of saints, as well as the Sacramental forgiveness of sins.
Item No 976 of The Catechism of the Catholic Church says “The Apostle's Creed associates faith in the forgiveness of sins not only with faith in the Holy Spirit, but also with faith in the Church and in the communion of saints. It was when he gave the Holy Spirit to his apostles that the risen Christ conferred on them his own divine power to forgive sins: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.