TO LOVE AND FORGIVE
Pentecost literally means 50th. It is a feast celebrated on the 50th day after the Passover feast by the Jews, and it is a feast celebrated on the 50th day after the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus by the Christians. Today is the birthday of the Church, of all those who have been reborn into His Mystical Body.
Today’s Gospel relates how the risen Jesus gave his apostles a foretaste of Pentecost on the evening of Easter Sunday by appearing to them and sending them to carry on the mission given him by his Heavenly Father. He then empowered them to do so by breathing upon them and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” On the day of Pentecost, Jesus fulfilled his promise to send the Advocate or Paraclete. The gift of the Spirit would enable them to fulfil Jesus’ commission to preach the Gospel to all nations.
The Gospel passage also tells us how 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 and 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 are all have, to love and forgive as we have been loved and forgiven, in the world of today, which is often fiercely judgemental and vengeful.
Excerpts from Gospel Reflection by Fr Tony Kadavil at http://frtonyshomilies.com