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Pentecost John 20:19-23 or John 14:15-16, 23b-26
Catholic Homilies
June 3rd, 2001

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Pentecost John 20:19-23 or John 14:15-16, 23b-26


John's account of the giving of the Holy Spirit on Easter differs from his discourse to the Apostles at the Last Supper. Still, his short account with its double salutation of 'Peace be with you" gave that common greeting new significance for the early followers of Jesus. Coupled with the commission of being sent forth as Jesus had been sent by the Father, it sets the stage for their reception of the Holy Spirit with its power and the responsibility Jesus’ followers have to practice forgiveness.

The selection from the Last Discourse emphasizes the role of the Spirit as a teacher of the central message of both readings: Love. We will show our Love for Jesus when we keep his word. The father loves us and will send the Spirit is a reminder of all that Jesus taught – especially the necessity of the forgiveness that brings peace.

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Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a teenage boy was driving on a very snowy day. He skidded on the ice, lost control of the car and hit a car with a mother driving her twelve-year-old daughter to school. The young girl was thrown from the car and knocked unconscious. The mother screamed at the teenager, calling him a murderer as she got into the ambulance with her daughter. As it turned out, the daughter regained consciousness at the hospital; but had a broken leg that required a long period of recuperation. When the teenager and his family phoned to express their concern about the girl, the Mom continued to rant at them. She accused the boy of being irresponsible even though the police said he had not been driving too fast and even suggested that perhaps she had been at fault for not having her daughter wear a seat belt. She condemned the parents for letting him drive. When she would see them around town she would glare at them, her eyes filled with hate. One day, after the young girl was home, the boy saw them at church. The Mom began her diatribe, telling him to look at what he had done to the girl. The boy told the girl that he was glad to see her up and about and was sorry she had been hurt. The Mom yelled at him, telling him never to speak to them again. As she and her daughter drove home, the girl said, "Mom, I’m not angry at him. He wasn’t being careless. And if I had been wearing my seat belt, I wouldn’t have been thrown out of the car. Maybe we should ask him to forgive us."

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