Thursday, May 28, 2020

Pentecost from a father’s perspective

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.”
John 20:22-23


Over these past week’s I’ve been keeping my finger on the pulse of my 21 year old daughter.  Like each of us during this pandemic, she experiences ups and downs on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.  Like many of her peers in the Class of 2020, she feels the frustration and futility that are inextricably bound to the joy of theri personal achievements.  

Alessandra did it right.  Graduating on time from a 3 ½ year program.  Renting an apartment in the city.  Obtaining her first two jobs in her field of stage management.  Now quarantined with her mom and sister in New Jersey she patiently listens to fatherly advice which is more often than not deep and philosophical.  Lucky for me, my daughter has turned into a thoughtful and sensitive young woman.

So what does this have to do with this week’s gospel?   Let’s take a look.  

It’s the night of the resurrection and Jesus finds the disciples afraid and locked in the upper room. 

[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.”

When they receive the Holy Spirit apostles go from being 12 scared men locked in a room….. to…... well…...being the APOSTLES.  

What causes this transformation?  (You may want to take a second and reread above.)

I see it as the Holy Spirit giving the Apostles the ability to forgive.   This gift released them from feelings of fear and failure and gave them the ability to boldly move forward.  

The Spirit offers you and me the gift of forgiveness.  A gift  to change how we interpret the events of our lives and to reimagine our future.  

What a wonderful gift.  Exactly what this father wants to give his daughter for her college graduation.

Come, Holy Spirit,

Bruce

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