This day in the Gospels, Jesus filled His disciples with the Holy Spirit and sent them out into the world, as we learn in John 20:19-23.
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.“
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”
This is Pentecost Sunday, celebrating the occasion when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit among His followers, then His disciples into the world.
In the Acts of the Apostles, the witness say, “And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” And in First Corinthians, Paul says, “No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”
Normally, I quote only from the Gospels, but I want to give you some sense of what it means to be be filled with the Holy Spirit. Through His Holy Spirit, God gives each of us gifts or powers and empowers us to do His good work.
In the Gospel according to John, Jesus fills the disciples with the Holy Spirit and then sends them forth to use these gifts, these powers, to do His works. In his words, He gives them the power, the gift, to forgive or hold bound sins. In the Acts of the Apostles, He gives them the gift of tongues to go out and spread the Gospels to every corner of the world. I envision that Jesus also gives them the gift of healing and consoling and doing all manner of other miracles.
On this Pentecost Sunday, Jesus sends us His Holy Spirit. Open your heart to Him. Do you feel the power of God like tongues of fire? Do you feel it fill you with love and the desire to serve God and, thus, serve others?
“As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” God has given you a gift, a power, to do His good works. It’s unique to you. Perhaps it is sharing Jesus’ Gospel, but perhaps it is sharing his love. Or healing the pains or sorrows or illness of another. Maybe you are wealthy and it is finding a way to share some of that wealth for the good of others. Maybe it is speaking up for others. Or it could be as simply as healing an old wound among friends or family. Think of the works that Jesus did in the Gospels. Think of the lessons He has taught us. How can you share His love in serving others?
Receive the Holy Spirit and go out into the world and serve in His name.