The Work of the Spirit

Watch any national broadcast of a sporting event, and immediately after the game the play-by-play announcers and color commentators will launch into a recap of the most important plays. Since the victor is known, these highlights are now portrayed as the most significant plays of the game that contributed to the victory. A single run in the first inning, or a field goal in the first quarter, when initially scored may not seem that essential. But when a team wins by that margin, those early events take on added relevance at the conclusion of the game. And in the recap, the sports commentators will underscore that meaning.

Today’s Gospel is a recap, a reprise of the Gospel we heard on the Second Sunday of Easter, six weeks ago. We may have missed this little part then, because it is the lead in to the story of Thomas, the apostle who was not in the upper room the first time the risen Lord appeared to his disciples. On the Second Sunday of Easter, it was more important to concentrate on Jesus’ words that those who have not seen the risen Lord-believers like ourselves-
are blest as well.

On Pentecost, we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the church. The Gospel for today relates that the gift of the Spirit is intimately involved with the forgiveness of sins. And while we often associate forgiveness with the absolution that comes in the sacrament of penance, it is the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts that prompts us to reconciliation. The ability to forgive others is a result of the Spirit’s action within the human heart. We may not think of Pentecost as a day to celebrate reconciliation, but forgiving others is one of the hallmarks of our Christian faith. This feast could be a day in which the Spirit prompts you to extend forgiveness, or a day in which you seek
the forgiveness of someone harmed by your sin.

2011 Liturgical Publications Inc