The Unknown God: Nine Steps to Pentecost

Day six

Jesus entrusting the Church to Peter; detail from a stained glass window in Witney parish church. Photo taken by Lawrence OP and uploaded to Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Let’s learn to know the Holy Spirit better during these nine days before Pentecost. Here is the sixth step.

When Jesus appeared to the apostles after his Resurrection, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”The Holy Spirit is also called the Breath of God. In the beginning, it was the Holy Spirit who moved over the water to cooperate in the creation of the world. Now, as Jesus begins a new creation, the Holy Spirit is given to the apostles.

What is the new creation? After Jesus says, “Receive the Holy Spirit”, he continues, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Forgiveness is a new creation because it gives someone a second chance at life. What sin will be retained? Only one sin is mentioned as being not forgiven: the sin against the Holy Spirit. I think that this sin has something to do with not forgiving others. It is denying the work of the Holy Spirit and not recognizing that we are all temples of the Holy Spirit. We do this when we fail to treat ourselves and others with reverence and respect.

We can participate in the new creation by freely forgiving others and giving them a second (or 77th) chance at life.

The sixth day of a novena to the Holy Spirit:

As the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. (Colossians 3:13)

Come, Holy Spirit, and give me the breath of life so that I may forgive others as you have forgiven me. Amen.