• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Thursday, 17 May 2018 11:34

Pentecost - 2018

Written by Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD


Pentecost Sunday

John 20:19-23

Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestDuring my holiday in the Philippines a few years ago, I visited some of the Holy Spirit Sisters at their convent in Manila. And, upon entering the convent, I realised that there’s this big lettering above the entrance door of the convent, which says “Convent of the Holy Ghost”. I reckoned that the sign was so iconic that they never bothered replacing it, even if officially the convent’s name was changed to “Convent of the Holy Spirit” decades ago. So I guess for many people especially those who were living before Vatican II, how come the name was changed from Holy Ghost to Holy Spirit? 

I believe that the name Holy Spirit is more appropriate and biblical at the same time. In the gospel for today, Jesus breathed on his disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit”. Spirit is actually breath. And we can go all the way back to when God breathed on Adam, the first human being and then, from a lump of clay, he became a living being because of the breath of life that was given by God. And this Holy Spirit that God gives us is the same Spirit that gives life to all of us. 

Pentecost Holy Spirit 450In the first reading and in the gospel, the disciples were very fearful and I don’t blame them. The Jews managed to have Jesus arrested and crucified and if they did that to Jesus, could the disciples be far behind. And yet in both instances, God gave them the confidence that they needed. First, Jesus appeared to them and breathed on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit” and in the second instance in the first reading for today, while they were gathered in that Upper Room, the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire and rested on each of them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were transformed people, they were not fearful anymore but they were able to speak of the gospel with all boldness care of the Holy Spirit. 

Another interesting issue from the gospel for today is the issue of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is in the gospel for today that Jesus gave the power to his disciples to forgive sins. Jesus had been in all sorts of discussions with the priests and Pharisees during his ministry. And this is not a small issue. We know that from Mosaic Law that for one’s sins to be forgiven, one must be able to render animal sacrifice to the Temple in Jerusalem so that one’s sins could be forgiven. So for the priests and Pharisees, Jesus is usurping their authority because he is forgiving sins. And now that Jesus is about to leave his disciples, Jesus is giving this authority to them and the disciples has given this authority to their successors, the bishops and priests of our day. However, for us priests, instead of treating this power as authority, all priests should see this as a gift that has to be given to everybody who asks. And for penitents, they should see this as an opportunity to be reconciled with God, the easiest and the most effective way. 

Lastly, the Second Reading for today gave us a beautiful account by Saint Paul of how there may be different spiritual gifts but there is just the same Spirit. And this Spirit has been a grace to all of us as the Spirit enables us to do so many things that otherwise we won’t be able to do without the Holy Spirit. Just take a look at the gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Awe and Wonder of God. These gifts are very precious that one would need all of them to be able to follow the Lord on the way of the Kingdom. And the challenge is that to make the most of all of these and we’re definitely on that way to the kingdom. 

Today is the most appropriate culmination of the season of Easter. Today we celebrate the birth of the Church; we celebrate the birth of Christianity. Today we are given power by Jesus to do what he did and even more because of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, God the Holy Spirit is the least known person of the Holy Trinity and yet God the Holy Spirit is equally powerful with the two other persons. And in this age of the Church, this age of Christianity, we are reminded that it is the Holy Spirit who is with us and would remain with us. Let us then use the gift that the Holy Spirit has provided so that our journey towards the kingdom may not only be easier but also successful.

Last modified on Thursday, 17 May 2018 11:53