‘He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’
This symbolic action and statement from Jesus takes place in the Gospel of John 20:19-23 chosen for today’s feast of Pentecost. We can live our lives on a different level because we are in relationship with God through the gift of the Spirit.
Our breathing is something we often take for granted but we certainly know about it if we become breathless or anxious. It is very distressing seeing someone struggling for breath. Breath and life go together don’t they? One need only think of the saving action of mouth to mouth resuscitation, the essential requirement of ventilators for people in these days of Covid 19 to assist their breathing. The blowing of our breathe to rekindle the embers of a dying fire.
At times we experience the influence of the Spirit in very striking ways but also in very gentle and quiet ways that inspires and rekindles our faith. It can be something we read that touches into our experience, something someone shares with us, an act of charity or heroism that lifts our spirits. It is as if new life has been breathed into us.
Retreat experiences can be like that or simply having some quiet time in a favourite spot reflecting on the circumstances of our lives and being grateful that God’s Spirit is with us, guiding, inspiringand reassuring us.
Just before Jesus breathed on his disciples, he said ‘As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.’
The gift and gifts of the Spirit are for the sake of others. Mindful of our baptism, each of us is being sent out to live the Jesus way which continues to grow and develop in us through the working of the Spirit. When we grow in understanding of what someone may be going through for example we are under the influence of the Spirit and can bring life and peace to them for perhaps the first time in their lives.
I would like to invite you today to be still and listen to ‘Breathing in and breathing out, let the silence teach us wisdom’ from ‘Chants for Silence’. Imagine as you breathe in, breathing in the Spirit of God to bring life to those areas of concern within you and breathing out life into those situations and people you are concerned about.