As we come to the end of our pilgrimage, we remember how we got to see firsthand all of these amazing places where Jesus came to encounter so many people and perform miracles. Ultimately, he came to us to show the love of the Father. That is what he came to show us.
Today, on this great day of the Feast of Pentecost, we hear that in the gospel. Jesus says the same thing to us: “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, whose sins you forgive are forgiven and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Think about the beginning of creation when God created the heavens and the earth. He breathed across the universe and brought life. Into this void of darkness, he brought light. Jesus is doing this again on this feast of Pentecost. He is entering into this world that has turned away from him.
People have been living in so much darkness, and the prophets long for his coming. After his suffering and dying, he then rises. For forty days, he shows himself to the apostles. He reveals himself to them and then, afterwards, ascends into heaven so that he can send the Holy Spirit upon us. He breathes onto us, and that same air that was breathed into Adam is now breathed into you.
We receive this gift of the Holy Spirit today. We become the Father’s love in a physical form for other people to see. There are so many people in the world who do not know God. Many will never come to see him except through you and the people that all of you encounter.
So, just like the disciples, we got to walk through these holy places – this holy land – and experience many of the sights to understand what the disciples themselves saw. Right here we celebrate in the Eucharist Jesus’ true presence with us – his body and blood, soul and divinity.
All of this is so we can know how loved we are by the Father. You are his beloved sons. You are his beloved daughters. In you he looks, and he looks with great delight.
I think about Jesus from this time of the Visitation. We are here in the place of the Visitation. As we were getting ready to celebrate Mass in the Holy Land, the Franciscan priest said to me that this is a perfect place for Pentecost because Mary was here with Elizabeth.
When they greeted each other, the infant leapt in her womb. Already the Holy Spirit was activating that life within her. The Holy Spirit activates that life within us all in a very unique way. Each and every one of us are called to invite the Holy Spirit into us but then manifest that gift for the world in a unique way.
So, your way will be different than my way, but we are all called to discover that gift within us and allow God to be revealed through it. Again, he wants now to breathe his spirit into you so that your life and his life become totally one. The air that you breathe is him.
As we go forth into the world after this pilgrimage, we will become a manifest sign of God the Father’s love of Jesus in us. I invite you to spend a few moments after this reflection to really breathe.
Take in the Holy Spirit, and ask God for that wonderful gift to receive the Holy Spirit on Pentecost so that we can go forth into the whole world and manifest his love.