Reconciled & Filled by the Holy Spirit

May 19, 2024

Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday  (Year B)

Readings for Pentecost

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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.” John 20:21–23

Happy Pentecost! Today, throughout the world, our Church celebrates the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ first followers and upon all of us. Why do we need the Holy Spirit in our lives? This is an important question to ponder. Today, as always, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit work as One God. It is the Father Who wills that we be reconciled to Him; it was the Son Who made this reconciliation possible; and it is the Holy Spirit Who now accomplishes the completion of this act in our lives. At the heart of that gift of salvation is the remission of our sins. The passage above clearly reveals to us that Jesus bestowed a unique gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, His first bishops, entrusting them with the ability to forgive sins in His name and by His power.

As we celebrate Pentecost, it is a good opportunity to prayerfully consider the action of the Holy Spirit in your life. One of the greatest ways that the Holy Spirit is potentially active in your life is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Through that Sacrament, the Holy Spirit draws you to the Father and enables you to see and understand His perfect will, living more fully in union with the Son as a member of His Body.

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are some of the other ways that the Holy Spirit helps us in our Christian walk. However, these gifts would be ineffective in our lives if we did not first receive the gift of forgiveness given through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. That is the first and most foundational action of the Holy Spirit and opens the door to every other gift. Perhaps that is why Jesus’ first bestowal of the Holy Spirit focused upon the power given to His Apostles to forgive sins in His name.

Once we are reconciled to the Father and begin to live in a state of grace, the Holy Spirit will continue to deepen His relationship with us and bestow His help upon us for our Christian journey. This especially happens through the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts most affecting our intellect are the Gifts of Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge. Wisdom helps us to understand the inner life of the Trinity more clearly. Understanding helps us to make sense of our lives and mission in the light of the Gospel. Knowledge helps us make practical decisions in accord with God’s will.

The gifts of Fear of the Lord and Piety assist us in our love of God. Fear of the Lord helps us to see how our actions help or hinder our relationship with God, helping to motivate us to avoid all that harms this relationship and choose all that strengthens it. Piety helps us to see the great dignity and beauty of God and enables us to have a deep reverence for Him and for all of His people.

Counsel and Fortitude are also given by the Holy Spirit and help us to firmly move forward in faith and love. Counsel especially helps us with love of neighbor, and Fortitude adds the strength we need to do all that we are called to do in love with unwavering commitment.

As we celebrate the great Solemnity of Pentecost, reflect, today, upon the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. If you want to be open to the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your life and receive the many gifts you need for your journey of faith, then begin with the most fundamental gift. Begin with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Ponder the words Jesus spoke in our Gospel today and know that by entrusting the grace to forgive sins in His name to His first priests, Jesus was also calling you to embrace that gift. The Holy Spirit wants you to be cleansed of all sin. Allow Him to do so and you will be amazed at all the grace that follows.

My glorious Lord, You promised to send the Holy Spirit upon us to lead us into all Truth and to reconcile us to the Father. You were faithful to that promise at Pentecost and now continuously bestow the Holy Spirit upon all who believe. Holy Spirit, please come upon me, especially by forgiving my sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and by filling me with Your sevenfold Gifts. Jesus, I trust in You.


Prayers for Pentecost

More Gospel Reflections

Divine Mercy Reflections

Further Reading – Pentecost Sunday

Saints/Feasts for Today

Mass Reading Options

Featured images above: Pentecost By Juan Bautista Maíno, via Wikimedia Commons