May 28, 2023 Pentecost Sunday

Welcome Father Eckhard Today’s Readings: Acts 2:1-11 | 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13 | Jn 20:19-23

####Runaways Blessed And Missioned

Resurrection, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, plus mission: Luke spreads these events across fifty days in Luke-Acts, but the Fourth Gospel concentrates them into the scenario of a single day.

This is one of the places that frustrates the historical literalists who insist on finding answers to the question — exactly what happened, precisely when and where? The texts of Luke-Acts and John do not yield answers to that kind of questioning. What these texts do assert is that soon after the death and resurrection of Jesus, God, beginning in Jerusalem, presented Jesus live to a stunned and frightened group of Jesus’ disciples and proceeded to enable them by the power of the Holy Spirit to continue Jesus’ mission.

The fact that our New Testament canon includes more than one way of telling about this demonstrates that the Church lives easily with the fact that there is almost always more than one way to speak of the Trinity’s action in Jesus. Our business is to attend carefully to what each diverse account contributes to our understanding of the essential mystery of God’s action in the world.

John sets the scene in a startling way:

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’

Clearly, whatever Jesus may have said about his imminent death and resurrection, the disciples were entirely unprepared for the shock of his execution. Their first concern after learning of their Master’s death by Roman crucifixion, apparently, was for their own safety. If the Romans considered Jesus dangerous enough to kill, surely they, the followers, might be next. […] Jesus’ first statement to these frightened (and no doubt guilt-ridden) runaways is, “Peace be with you.” Before they have a chance to express regret and ask for forgiveness, Jesus blesses them with shalom.

Then, to confirm his identity, Jesus shows them the wounds of his hands and side. He follows this with another blessing of shalom, this time linked with the mandate to carry on his mission: “as the Father has sent me, so I send you.” This Fourth Gospel has said much about Jesus as “sent” by the Father—to be light for the world, to heal, to be bread from heaven, to be good shepherds, to die in order to gather into one the scattered children of God, to be the New Temple, to be the culmination of divine presence in human history. Thus, to be sent by the Father as Jesus was sent is a thought that requires the use of a phrase from the vocabulary of today’s youth: totally awesome.

If that way of describing the disciples’ mission is breathtaking, it is also breath-giving. For Jesus implements the commission with a powerful and resonant gesture: he breathes upon them. […] The key to the gesture’s meaning is the only other scene in the Bible that even comes close, the creation of Adam (Gen 2:7), where God is pictured as breathing life into a clay model. Thus the post-Easter gift of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples comes in the form of a new creation entailing a mission that implements the very mission of the original Sent One.

Now it becomes clear why John, in his account of the healing of the man born blind, highlights the name of the pool of healing water (Siloam, meaning “The Sent One.” Cf John 9:1–11). All of us are born blind, until we wash in the waters of the Sent One, baptized into the life of faith. Like the healed blind man, our destiny is simply to witness with our lives how we have been healed of fear and blindness and empowered to continue Jesus’ mission.

Source of reflection: © 2001, Dennis Hamm, SJ, Source of image: Kossowski, Adam. Veni Sancte Spiritus, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved May 26, 2023]. Original source: - Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P..


  • 4 June - Social Sunday: With children’s church during the first part of the Mass, and social gathering afterwards. Kindly consider bringing something edible to share, and/or help with the set-up from 12:30 on. Thank you!