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Then He breathed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy Spirit'
John 20:19-23

Sermon Topic Holy Spirit

Sermon Week Pentecost Sunday Cycle B

Scripture Summary John 20:22


The Church is the Community which God has called into being for the specific purpose of making Himself known. It is important for us to remember that always. In an uniquely intense way, God's living presence is revealed in the Church.

The Holy Spirit-the Spirit of God-is present in the Bible from the very beginning: in the creation story, in the stories of the prophets, in the ministry of Jesus. But in the Fourteenth Chapter of John, something very special happens. Jesus is in the "upper room" with His disciples, and He makes a promise. He promises that they and others who come to know God through Him, will receive an additional gift. Beyond the gift of knowing God through the Christ, they will be given the gift of the Holy Spirit. They will be given the opportunity to know God as a living presence in their lives. Not as an idea, not as a concept, not as theological formula, but as a living presence! Then, in today's Gospel Lesson from the Twentieth Chapter of John's Gospel, a great event takes place. The promise is kept. The time is after the Resurrection. Jesus appears to the disciples, saying, "Peace be with you." Then He breathes on them to symbolize the coming of the very life-breath of God into their lives.

Because of the Pentecost Event we are a Spirit-filled community, feeling the wind of the Spirit moving among us, feeling the light and warmth and fire of the Spirit among us. And we are charged with the responsibility of creating an atmosphere in which the Spirit can move freely. When Theologian Bernard Haring returned from a trip to Africa, he spoke of a young African Christian who had been spending ,an unusual amount of time in Church. When his pastor asked, "Why?" the young man at first looked surprised at the question. Then he said, simply, "I've just been lifting my soul up into the sunshine." What an eloquently simple and beautiful definition of the Church! The Spiritfilled Community where we lift our souls and the souls of others up [...]

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