Sun, 5/31/20: "He breathed on them..."
Today's readings can be found: [HERE]
It’s been difficult for many to live in seeming isolation from the community. And that’s understandable. We know that, from a natural perspective, humans are social creatures. When we lack our regular social interactions, we can lose a piece of our humanity. And when we’re absent from our faith community, we lose a bit of our spirit.
Our spirit can be exhausted, and it can feel like we’re running on fumes, so to speak, as if our faith is slowly draining away, and we’re spiritually dying by slow asphyxiation. But today, we celebrate Pentecost; the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the disciples; and we too are spiritually replenished. We regain our spiritual breath.
The Hebrew word for spirit is ruah, which also means breath. That’s a good image for the Holy Spirit—the very breath of God. In the beginning God formed man from dust and breathed into him the breath of life.
In our gospel today, we see Jesus breathe on his disciples, saying: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained. In the beginning, God’s breath gave life to man; at Pentecost, God’s breath gave life to his Church; the Church was born on that day.
As we need to breathe continually in order to have life; so we need the breath of God continually to have eternal life. Sadly, these past two months or so, we’ve been out of breath, seemingly, spiritually. But no longer. Today, we breathe deeply of the Spirit and are renewed.
Jean II Restout,Pentecost, oil on canvas, 1732 [Wikipedia]