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Scripture Reflection - May 15, 2016

Pentecost Acts 2:1-11; Romans 8:8-17; John 20:19-23 ”Breathe on Me”

Today’s readings begin in an atmosphere of mystery and anticipation.  The first disciples and apostles have locked themselves in a room out of fear.  We hear that there were about 120 of them, all moping around wondering what they were going to do without Jesus.  Suddenly, they heard a holy hurricane headed their way. A mighty wind had blown through the entire house, striking sparks that burst into flames above their heads.  Every one of them was filled to the gills with God’s own breath.  They understood languages they did not even know they knew.  They found themselves bound, not only to each other, but even to those outside.  All were given to drink of the  one Spirit.

The Spirit’s breath could not be contained that day.  It burst loose in them, filled them up.  Before the day was over the church had grown from 120 believers to more than 3000.  As Barbara Brown Taylor explains, “Shy people had become bold; scared people had become gutsy; self-centered people had become generous; hard hearted people had become compassionate; lost people had found a sense of direction.”

They had sucked in God’s own breath and had been transformed by it.  The Spirit worked in them in wondrous and surprising ways.  The Spirit continues to do so in us.  Do we believe in a God who has this power to transform us, a God who turns things upside down, a God who offers us the gift of peace?  

On this feast of Pentecost we celebrate the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives and our desire to receive a greater outpouring of that Spirit.  All of us possess gifts given by the Spirit for the good of others.   How are we using them?  Are we responding with the new breath of the Spirit to Jesus’ mandate to go and be his witnesses?  Will our actions bring many more followers into the church today?

Come, Holy Spirit, breathe anew the fire of your love upon each of us today.  Transform us in wondrous and surprising ways.  Touch our hearts with your radical and reckless breath.  Permit us to be your witnesses each day. For reflection:

•What keeps me from asking Jesus to “breathe” on me and fill my human spirit with the strength of the Holy Spirit? Mary Ann Collins, O.P.


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