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May 15, 2016

Pentecost

The good news for the Day (302) 

Towards evening of that first day of that week—doors were locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews—Jesus arrived and was standing among them. He said to them, “Peace be with you.” Once He said these words, He showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were glad to see the Lord. Jesus repeated, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 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.” (John 20, 19-23)

It is hard to say, at times, what inspires you. A novel may change your life. A movie may awaken sensitivity. A face may cause you to fall in love. A song or singer may stir you into an unexpected fascination. A new gadget may snare you into a productive hobby. Or—long-term—a career of teaching, selling houses, installing wires, or helping with people’s finances—these may deeply satisfy you—and bring you peace.

Today the Catholic Church celebrates “Pentecost,” a day we are told when a Holy Spirit descended in tornado-sounding wind and flames over people’s heads, when people talked in their own language and everybody understood them. Apostles felt “inspired” to change from fearful and self-absorbed “little” people into fiery preachers and traveling missionaries.

Today, you are those folks—Mary and friends. The first thing you do is deal with “sin”—flaws and failures of the world. You forgive some sins; others you handle—not forgiving them, but understanding, absorbing and transforming them. “Retain” means you “keep” them as part of yourself, making them into virtues, strengths and glory. Weakness can become strength. Failure can become triumph. Admissions and acceptances can bring joy, deep joy—in the transformation that truth enables.

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