Celebrating the Arrival Of the Holy Spirit

This Sunday, we celebrate the end of the Easter season with Pentecost Sunday. 

Imagine what it would be like to be one of the disciples, locked away, as this Sunday’s Gospel depicts. 

You are frightened, no, you are terrified. Jesus is gone. And you could be next. You ran, you hid like a frightened child, not the leader of men you thought you were. 

Yet Jesus’ disciples have gathered together for a holiday when the room fills with wind, ushering in the Holy Spirit to bolster their faith. 

The Lord appears instantly recognizable yet changed, glorified, appearing almost like Peter, James, and John said he looked on that mount a few months prior. There is no doubt it is the Master; in fact, he bears the horrible marks of the Crucifixion nails on his hands and feet and clearly has the wound from the soldier’s lance, that gaping hole from which the Beloved Disciple witnessed blood and water flowing. 

You are so happy to see the Lord. All that you knew, all that he taught you, it is true. He has done it as he said he would. The Master has conquered death, and, as he said to you, he will share this with you. And yet, you are still nervous. He has not spoken as of yet. 

Finally, issuing forth from those lips which have the words of everlasting life, the Master speaks. He says not words of anger and correction, words like you would have spoken if you had been betrayed by your closest friends. The Word of Life himself, in his Divine Mercy, simply, clearly, calmly, lovingly says: “Peace be with you.” 

And you have just heard the news, some incredible news, news that made your heart leap with joy from one of the Lord’s female followers, this Mary, the Magdalene, a friend of the Lord. She claims that she was at the tomb, that borrowed burial plot of Joseph of Arimathea, and she saw it empty. And not only that, but the Magdalene says that she saw and spoke to the Lord. He is not dead; he is alive. And he said he is coming to his brothers. It is amazing news, and yet, it also fills your heart with fear. 

If this is true, what would Jesus say? What words would he utter to his brothers, this apostolic band, each of whom in his own way betrayed the Lord? He had every right to have righteous indignation. The Master could have rightfully reprimanded the Eleven. 

They had all run and left him to suffer and die, all except John, the Master’s Beloved Disciple; Mary, the Lord’s Mother; and the women, including Magdalene. What should you really fear more, as you are behind these locked doors, those who killed Jesus or, perhaps, the rebuke of the Master, the Innocent One, whom you denied, denigrated, and ditched, all in a vain attempt at preserving your own safety? 

If the Lord is really risen and, if he is, as the Magdalene stated, coming to you all, his brothers, what would he say to you? He does not rebuke; he says, “Peace be with you.” 

Today, we faithful need to realize that the Lord is with us, just as he was with those disciples. And just as then, Jesus now brings us not fear but peace and mercy.