Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has come so that his followers, his sheep, may have life and have it to the full. He passes on to them his breath.
In the Acts of the Apostles, fifty days separate Pentecost from Easter. But that is not so in John’s Gospel that we hear or read today. Here, Jesus blows his breath on his disciples and gives them the Holy Spirit. And this takes place on the evening of the same Sunday of his rising from the dead. So, in John’s account, Easter Sunday is also Pentecost Sunday.
And Jesus’ breath brings to mind that God breathed life into Adam that he had shaped from clay. There is the hint, then, that Jesus’ breath creates, gives life and renews. In Paul’s words, those in Christ are a new creation; the old passes away, and the new is here.
Among other things, new creation means that God speaks my language and all languages. He is God not just of the Jews or of the Samaritans. Worship of him in Spirit and truth knows no borders. He is God of all humans and for all humans. He is our Father, the Father of all.
And taking seriously that we have but one Father, that we are all brothers and sisters, and are one, makes for peace, reconciliation. It also makes us reach out to others, asking the most important question of many questions.
But we know we remain clay. And so, we rely on the Holy Spirit, on Jesus’ breath, so that we may not be crushed or despair. Due to his many gifts, among which is zeal, nothing, neither fear nor old age, for instance, can hinder us (SV.EN XI:123). These gifts also spur us on to strive to be spiritual men and women who serve God and the poor (SV.EN XII:82).
Lord Jesus, do not just show us your hands and your side, but give us also the marks they bear. We can thus carry your death in our bodies and show your life in our bodies also. It will, then, be clear, as we stay one with you while you give your body up and you shed your blood, that we share your breath, that the Holy Spirit is in us.
28 May 2023
Pentecost Sunday (A)
Acts 2, 1-11; 1 Cor 12, 3b-7. 12-13; Jn 20, 19-23