The Holy Spirit within Us – Pentecost Sunday, Year C

Pentecost Sunday, Year C

John 20:19-23

The Holy Spirit within Us

Pentecost is when the disciples finally get it. Up until Pentecost, they don’t understand that Jesus is in them, that the way to Jesus is already within them—not what they can do as humans but that the light of God that is already inside of them. From the moment they dropped their nets and started following Jesus, the disciples had the wholly human struggle of trying to understand who Jesus was. We can all relate. There were times when they thought they got it (the wedding at Cana, the feeding of the 5,000, the Transfiguration)—just like we catch glimpses of the Divine. But those moments would evaporate back into real life, and the very human disciples would have to plod on not really sure of what they were supposed to be doing or exactly Who they were following.

But at Pentecost, the identity of the disciples are has been boiled down. They are followers of Christ. The doors are locked, the disciples waiting in fear “of the Jews,” the very people who are supposed to be their people. But now the disciples aren’t just one of them (the Jews) anymore. They are clearly marked as Christ followers, and there’s no going back.

Then, just when the disciples think they can’t stand it anymore, Jesus is with them and offers them peace. What they didn’t get right then, but were about to, was that Jesus was with them all along. Had they looked for Him within, His peace would have been with them the whole time. Instead, they wait in fear behind a locked door.

But then Jesus is with them, gives them His peace, and breathes on them. The breathing harkens back to Genesis: “The Lord God formed man out of clay in the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).

What God did for Adam is exactly what Jesus does for the disciples. Jesus took clay (us plodding humans), breathed into it, and then the disciples got it—they had new life. Because they got it, we got it. We have Jesus in us, just like the disciples had Jesus in them all along. Jesus’s breath just woke them up, activated, if you will, the Holy Spirit within them, within us. It’s the bridge of the Old to the New. Original sin had silenced the breath of God, and now we have It again.

When we need Jesus, for whatever it is that we need Him, we don’t have to wait for an appearance behind the locked door, whatever door in us is locked. We just need to look inside. His breath has been there from the beginning, since Adam, and it will always be there. He has activated it; we just need to listen for it.

Written by Ansley Dauenhauer, Coordinator of Elementary Faith Formation
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