“On the evening of that first day of the week … Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 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.'” (St. John 20:19-23, NAB)
Christ commissioned His disciples to continue in the work of His ministry, empowering each of them with the Holy Spirit. He told His disciples, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you … Receive the Holy Spirit.”
With the power of the Holy Spirit being “breathed on them”, they were given the authority to forgive or retain sins. This power, coming from Christ and through the Holy Spirit, was a special consecration. This consecration of the Holy Apostles is continued today in the Church’s bishops and priests, who have the same authority as the first century Apostles to administer the Holy Sacraments, including, but not limited to Ordination and Confession.
The laity, in a similar manner, have been commissioned by Christ to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” (St. Matthew 28:19-20). When the laity are working in harmony with the blessing of the Church as a whole, and the parish in general, the laity are assured of the presence of Christ in their various ministries. He promised: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (St. Matthew 28:20)
May each of us, especially at this time of year, on this Day of Pentecost, renew our zeal to serve in the Church, in whatever capacity each of us are able. Let us take this opportunity to renew our consecration to the Holy Spirit, remember our vows or confirmation, to remain faithful in our Christian duties, to always be of service to our fellow parish members and to the world in general. We have been given the Holy Spirit. We have been sealed in the grace of our Lord, and Christ promises to always be with us.
May God bless you,
31 May 2020