This coming Sunday is Pentecost Day, the fiftieth day of Easter and the final day of the season. The color changes to red for the Holy Spirit. The Gospel for the day is the story of Easter Evening in the Gospel of John.
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you.' After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.' When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.' John 20:19-23
It is a most beautiful Gospel of forgiveness and re conciliation. Jesus does not come back to punish those who deserted him. Rather, as the disciples tremble in fear, trying to understand the events of Easter Day morning, Jesus comes and brings the fear-filled followers his peace. Even better, the Holy Spirit comes forth from Jesus' very breath, empowering the disciples to grow forgiveness and reconciliation.
One week after Pentecost Day, we have Trinity Sunday, and the celebration of the Holy Spirit continues. For St. Mark's it is a very special day, because three of our parishioners will be confirmed at a joint service of the East Oahu parishes at St. Clement's. Raine, Susie and Renee are three of our catechumens who have been preparing for their confirmation all year long. They all received the Holy Spirit when they were baptized, but now they will have the opportunity to make the promises to Christ on their own. I hope many of you will come to support them as they commit themselves further to Christ and his Church. In a world where so much Christianity is about power and domination, we are doing our part in Kapahulu to produce Christians who desire peace and who love forgiveness. We are seeking the fruits of Pentecost Day.
Pentecost Day also has a vigil that is very similar to the vigil of Easter Day. I just spent some time looking at the readings and the liturgy. Like the Easter Vigil, it is a service full of meaning, and it would be exciting to do some year in the future. Perhaps at some point we might be able to bring together some of the churches in our area for this service.
Father Paul Lillie+