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.”
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This Gospel reading is from the Mass during the Day readings for Pentecost Sunday. It gives us a beautiful image of the Trinity as Jesus appears to the disciples after his Resurrection. The Father sends the Son into the world, and he gives his disciples the Holy Spirit. Meditating on this reality reminds me of how intertwined the Trinity is. In this passage, Jesus knows that he won’t physically be with his disciples much longer, and their ministry will begin soon. He gives them the Holy Spirit to help them and guide them. Now that they have it, they have the gifts to continue Christ’s ministry. First, they receive it when Jesus breathes on them after his Resurrection, but they receive the Holy Spirit again on Pentecost in the form of fire. After this intense descent of the Holy Spirit, the disciples speak in tongues to add 3,000 people to the Church. Like the disciples, we’re constantly open to the Holy Spirit which leads us on our mission. As followers of Christ, we also have our part to do in the Great Commission. Our own mission might not resemble that of the disciples, but we still rely on the Holy Spirit to help us make the Gospel known to all whom we encounter.
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