Pentecost Sunday Year A - 31/05/2020 - Gospel: Jn 20: 19-23
Jesus came to the world to show God's love for the world. He was born into the world to be one of us in all things, except sin. St. John told us that God loved the world so much; God gave the world His only Son to save us (The Prologue). This extraordinary way of showing God's love was not well accepted by the world. Ironically, the world claimed, that in the name of God, they condemned Jesus for blasphemy, nailing Him on the cross, saying he was only man, and yet claiming to be God. For Jesus' opponents, His saving mission came to an end, when he breathed His last on the cross. For Jesus, His earthly life ended at the cross, but not his saving mission. He carried the burden of sins by means of the cross. His saving mission was going to be accomplished on His Second coming as He has promised (Jn. 14,28). Jesus' saving mission continues. It takes a new form, signified by the Paraclete. The day Jesus ascended into heaven was the beginning His apostles' new life. They actively began their mission in His Holy Name. On that day, Jesus' mission on earth was handed over to His apostles, and to those who through them believe in Jesus. Jesus said to them 'As the Father sent me, so am I sending you' 20, 19. After saying this, Jesus breathed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy Spirit'. Jesus sent His apostles into the world, just as He was sent by the Father to the world. Receiving the Spirit, the apostles began their saving mission. They had no power to save, but only preached about God's redemptive plan, and God's love for the world. Twice in this passage, Jesus addressed His apostles 'Peace be with you' 20,20-21. The peace that Jesus gave the apostles, enabled them to live in the hostile world, which refused to embrace the gift of peace. People were given a choice between God's way, and the way of the world. Those who chose God's way would live in peace; those who follow the way of the world would live in sin for rejecting God. The rejection happened in the forms of hostility, persecution and imprisonment for those who chose God's way. This still happens.

There is a difference between Jesus' teaching and His followers'. Jesus talked about the Father's love. His followers proclaimed Jesus' love. The key message of Jesus' followers was focussing on Jesus' Passion and His invisible presence in the world. In doing their mission, Jesus' followers were not alone. They were accompanied by the invisible, heavenly power of God, The Paraclete, who became their guide and companion. Receiving the Paraclete, Jesus' followers received the power to act. By acts of charity and kindness, they made Jesus' commandment of love real to the world. Giving them the Paraclete, Jesus told them, that His gift was the Spirit of Truth 14,6 who would teach them everything, reminding them of what He had taught them (14,26), and their faithful commitment to follow would give glory to Him 16,14. Empowered with the Holy Spirit, the apostles entered the world, knowing that rejection, hostility and persecution were ahead of them. However, their love for Jesus was so strong, that nothing could deter them from their mission, not even death itself. We have some of their personal accounts in 'The Acts Of The Apostles'.