“Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the power of Him on whom their life depends” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
Gospel Text: (JN 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.”
The early Christians had a name for being followers of Jesus Christ, they call it – “The Way.” This is our “Way” too 2000 year later. You find it today in some surprising places. You find it lived out in a hospital in Baghdad, where a Catholic nun cares for a Muslim mother and her child in the aftermath of war. You find it in churches from Brooklyn to Budapest, where faithful men, women and children offer their prayers to God—asking for healing, or reconciliation, or peace. You find it anywhere a Christian strives to hold the hand of someone who is hurting, bring comfort to someone who is lonely, or restore faith to someone who has lost it.
St Paul tells us, ‘There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit, there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people. It is the same God who is working in all sorts of different ways in different people; it is the same God who is working in all of them.’ (1 COR 12:3B-7, 12-13)
In the Gospel today St John tells us that after Jesus' death the disciples were so afraid of the Jews that they hid themselves in a locked room. But despite the locked doors Jesus appeared to them; he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit transformed them. They began preaching fearlessly.
So today, dare to ask the question: Who will carry the flame, the torch of faith, as it is passed? It is up to each of us.
This Pentecost, let us ask the Spirit to touch all of our hearts, as He touched the hearts of the disciples on the first Pentecost. Let the fire burn over you, so the flame can spread. There’s a famous saying from St. Catherine of Siena: “If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze. This Pentecost, go ahead. Strike a match. Set the world ablaze. And let The Word go forth.