Pentecost: Why and How to Celebrate

Gospel According to Saint John 20:19-23
As the Father sent me, so am I sending you: receive the Holy Spirit

In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. ‘As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’  After saying this he breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.’

What does this mean for us today? The disciples were scared of people they thought would hurt them and so they were hiding away. But when Jesus came they rejoiced, and he gave them a very special gift, the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit can be a difficult idea to understand. We can’t see it like we can see each other.  The Holy Spirit is like the wind. We can’t see the wind, but we can certainly feel it on a windy day. We can see the leaves moving in the trees because of the wind, or a kite flying high in the sky. The wind can be very strong and powerful. Just like the wind, we can see the effects of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can work through us when we are kind to our family and friends, when we think about other people around the world, and when we work for people who are in need. Can you think of the last time you did any of these things?