Responding to the Holy Spirit’s Gifts, Pentecost Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Pentecost Sunday 2014
June 8, 2014
Acts 2:1-11, Ps 104, 1 Cor 12:3-7.12-13, Jn 20:19-23

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 

 

The following text guided the homily: 

Getting to know God the Holy Spirit Personally

Two days ago, as I was guiding two dozen future priests to the sacred sites of our faith in Rome, we stopped at the tomb of St. Philip Neri, the great re-evangelizer of Rome in the 1500s. There we pondered together what happened to him on the Vigil of Pentecost in 1544, when as a 29-year-old layman he had gone to pray all night at the then partially rediscovered catacombs dedicated to St. Sebastian. While he was imploring the Holy Spirit to give him the fruits of the Spirit, he saw the third person of the Trinity take on the appearance of a ball of fire that entered his mouth, descended to his heart and caused an explosion of heat and love that an autopsy later demonstrated had broken outward two of his ribs and doubled the size of his heart. St. Paul once wrote to the Romans, “The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us,” and that was literally true for St. Philip. For the rest of his life, the fire burned both spiritually and physically, so that no matter how cold outside he needed to have the windows open. People could hear his heart beating across Churches, so powerful it was. He became a living example of each of the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-mastery. His docility to what God the Holy Spirit wanted to do in him and through him not only led to his becoming one of the greatest saints of all time but also to his helping vast multitudes respond to the sanctifying work of the same Holy Spirit.

What happened to him teaches us something very important about the Solemnity of Pentecost we’re celebrating today. It’s not enough for us to know that the Holy Spirit exists. It’s not sufficient for us to recite the Creed in which we proclaim him the Lord and giver of life who comes from and is adored with the Father and the Son and who speaks through the prophets. It’s not adequate to meditate on what happened on Pentecost Sunday when after nine days of prayer, the Holy Spirit burst through the windows of the upper room as a strong driving wind and came down as tongues of fire on Mary, the apostles, and other members of the Holy Church. It’s not enough even to know of the connection between Pentecost and the Sacrament of Confirmation that Catholics receive. We need to know more than about the Holy Spirit. We need, rather, to know him personally, to allow him to enter into us as a tongue of fire, as a ball of fire, or in whatever subtle and sensibly indetectable way he wants. This feast is about giving him permission, about becoming docile, about becoming fully cooperative in allowing him to do his holy work in us.

The Work of the Holy Spirit

Just like with the first members of the Church on Pentecost, just like with St. Philip Neri and so many other saints, the Holy Spirit wants to bring God’s redeeming work in us and through us to completion. As we learn from what is said about the Holy Spirit in Sacred Scripture, he wants to dwell within us as within a temple. He wants to teach us how to pray, for we don’t know how to pray as we should but he helps us to learn how to pray as beloved sons and daughters of God the Father crying out “Abba, Father!” He wants to lead us to all truth and remind us of everything Jesus has taught us. He wants to help us not just to say “Jesus is Lord” but to make Jesus the Lord of our life. He wants to unite us as members of Christ’s one body. He wants to give us, as St. Paul reminds us in today’s epistle, a manifestation of the Spirit — a special charism or gift — for the good of the whole Church. He wants to give us tongues of fire and hearts on fire so that with ardent passion we might proclaim by our words and our witness the truth and love of God. He wants ultimately to help us put to death all life according to the flesh and worldly ways so that we might set our minds on the things of the Spirit and live according to the Spirit in all we do.

The Pneumatological Advent and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

In response to what he wants to do, he inspires us to desire it, and so today the Church puts on our lips the beautiful words of the Pentecost Sequence: “Come, Holy Spirit, come! And from your celestial home shed a ray of light divine! … Come within our bosoms shine! … You the soul’s most welcome guest! … Shine within these hearts of yours and our inmost being fill. Heal our wounds, our strength renew, on our dryness pour your dew. Wash the stains of guilt away. Bend our stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen, warm the chill. Guide our steps that go astray. On the faithful who adore and confess you ever more, in your sevenfold gift descend. Give us virtue’s sure reward! Give us your salvation, Lord! Give us joys that never end!”

To help us to learn how to live better according to the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis for the last two months has been giving general audience Catecheses about the phrase in the Sequence: “in your sevenfold gift descend.” He’s trying to help us learn about the practical role the Holy Spirit is supposed to have in every Christian’s life. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit — all flowing from the one Gift who the Holy Spirit is — respond to seven essential needs that a human person has in life in general and in the spiritual life in particular. With the help of the Holy Father today is a great way to see how and to say yes to this “most welcome guest” of the soul.

Back on April 9, Pope Francis told us, “You know that the Holy Spirit constitutes the soul, the life blood of the Church and of every individual Christian: He is the Love of God who makes of our hearts his dwelling place and enters into communion with us. The Holy Spirit abides with us always. He is always within us, in our hearts.” He continued, “The Spirit himself is ‘the gift of God’ par excellence (cf. Jn 4:10), … and he in turn communicates various spiritual gifts to those who receive him. The Church identifies seven, a number that symbolically speaks of fullness, completeness; they are those we learn about when we prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation and which we invoke in the ancient prayer called the ‘Sequence of the Holy Spirit.’ The gifts of the Holy Spirit [listed in the 11th chapter of Isaiah about Isaiah himself, later about Jesus and finally about each Christian sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit] are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.” The Pope has been taking us one-by-one to examine each of those gifts by which the Holy Spirit seeks to help us to seek, think, act and live as Christians. Let’s see what the Holy Spirit has been teaching us over the course of the last 8 weeks through the vicar of Christ the Holy Spirit helped to elect.

The first gift is the gift of Wisdom

Pope Francis tells us, “Wisdom is precisely this: it is the grace of being able to see everything with the eyes of God, … to see the world, to see situations, circumstances, problems, everything through God’s eyes.” He notes, “Sometimes we see things according to our liking or according to the condition of our heart, with love or with hate, with envy…. No, this is not God’s perspective. Wisdom is what the Holy Spirit works in us so as to enable us to see things with the eyes of God. … When we are in communion with the Lord, the Holy Spirit transfigures our heart and enables it to perceive all of his warmth and predilection.”

The gift of Wisdom helps us to see things as they really are and to live in the real, real world. A lot of times we spend our time living in a transitory world where we place our hearts in money and things, in pleasure and entertainment, trying to exercise power and control. The Holy Spirit’s gift of Wisdom helps us to see that this is vanity. He also helps us to see that sometimes the greatest value comes from things that the world rejects, that the Cross is the Christian’s “power and glory,” that suffering is a means to unleash love, that losing one’s life, rather than seeking to preserve one’s life, is the path to fruitfulness and happiness.

By this gift, Pope Francis says, “The Holy Spirit makes the Christian ‘wise,’ not in the sense that he has an answer for everything, or that he knows everything, but in the sense that he ‘knows’ about God, he knows how God acts, he knows when something is of God and when it is not of God; he has this wisdom that God places in our hearts.” Pope Francis reminds us that “we can all have” this gift. “We only have to ask it of the Holy Spirit. … It cannot be learned: it is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we must ask the Lord to grant us the Holy Spirit and to grant us the gift of wisdom, that wisdom of God that teaches us to see with God’s eyes, to feel with God’s heart, to speak with God’s words.”

The second gift is the gift of Understanding

Pope Francis says, “We are not dealing here with human understanding, with the intellectual prowess with which we may be more or less endowed. Rather, it is a grace that only the Holy Spirit can infuse and that awakens in a Christian the ability to go beyond the outward appearance of reality and to probe the depths of the thoughts of God and his plan of salvation.”

The gift of understanding is not a higher IQ in terms of quantum physics but it is a higher spiritual IQ in terms of the things that matter most. It’s an ability to see behind what’s occurring, to grasp connections. “This of course does not mean,” Pope Francis adds, “that a Christian can comprehend all things and have full knowledge of the designs of God: all of this waits to be revealed in all its clarity once we stand in the sight of God and are truly one with Him. However, as the very word suggests, understanding allows us to ‘intus legere,’ or ‘to read inwardly’”: this gift enables us to understand things as God understands them, with the mind of God. For one can understand a situation with human understanding, with prudence, and this is good. But to understand a situation in depth, as God understands it, is the effect of this gift.”

Pope Francis gives a couple of examples to help us to understand how much we need this gift. “One can read the Gospel and understand something,” he stated, “but if we read the Gospel with this gift of the Holy Spirit, we can understand the depths of God’s words. And this is a great gift, a great gift for which we all must ask and ask together: Give us, Lord, the gift of understanding.”

He said that what the Holy Spirit wants to do in us through this Gift is what Jesus himself did for the disciples on the road to Emmaus. The Holy Spirit “opens our minds, he opens us to understand better, to understand better the things of God, human things, situations, all things.”

The Pope exclaims, “What a beautiful gift the Lord has given us. It is the gift with which the Holy Spirit introduces us into intimacy with God and makes us sharers in the plan of love which he has for us.” But he also calls us to ask for what God wants to give us. “Let us ask it of the Lord, that he may give us, that he may give us all this gift to understand the things that happen as he understands them, and to understand, above all, the Word of God in the Gospel.”

The third is the gift of Counsel, which is also called prudence or right judgment.

Pope Francis begins by describing how all of us need advice at various times of our life: “We know how important it is in the most delicate moments,” he says, “to be able to count on the advice of people who are wise and who love us. Through the gift of counsel, it is God himself, through his spirit, who enlightens our heart so as to make us understand the right way to speak and to behave and the way to follow.”

The Holy Spirit is the wise Counselor who comes to abide in us to help us to make the right choices and help to guide others to the right aligning of means toward good ends.

The way this gift works in us, Pope Francis says, is by helping us to attune our consciences to God. “When we receive and welcome him into our heart, the Holy Spirit immediately begins to make us sensitive to his voice and to guide our thoughts, our feelings and our intentions according to the heart of God. At the same time, he leads us more and more to turn our interior gaze to Jesus, as the model of our way of acting and of relating with God the Father and with the brethren. Counsel, then, is the gift through which the Holy Spirit enables our conscience to make a concrete choice in communion with God, according to the logic of Jesus and his Gospel. In this way, the Spirit makes us grow interiorly, he makes us grow positively, he makes us grow in the community and he helps us not to fall prey to self-centeredness and one’s own way of seeing things.”

Pope Francis says that to receive this help of the Holy Spirit’s counsel, we need to do two things. The first is prayer, which he calls the “essential condition” for preserving it this gift. “In intimacy with God and in listening to his Word, little by little we put aside our own way of thinking, which is most often dictated by our closures, by our prejudices and by our ambitions, and we learn instead to ask the Lord: what is your desire? What is your will? What pleases you? In this way a deep, almost connatural harmony in the Spirit grows and develops within us and we experience how true the words of Jesus are that are reported in the Gospel of Matthew: ‘Do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak but the spirit of your Father speaking through you’ (10:19-20). It is the Spirit who counsels us, but we have to make room for the Spirit, so that he may counsel us. And to give space is to pray, to pray that he come and help us always.”

The second condition is docility to his teaching us through others by means of the Church. “The Lord does not only speak to us in the intimacy of the heart,” Pope Francis clarifies. “He also speaks to us through the voice and witness of the brethren. It is truly a great gift to be able to meet men and women of faith who, especially in the most complicated and important stages of our lives, help us to bring light to our heart and to recognize the Lord’s will!”

He does this often through the work of parents and godparents, through great teachers, through priests in the confessional in spiritual direction and even in the pulpit, through good spiritual books, CDs, and videos, thorough adult education courses like we began on Wednesday and other means. Pope Francis encourages us, “Always ask for the gift of counsel!,” because the Holy Spirit wants to give himself to us in this way.

Fortitude, or courage, is the fourth Gift

Pope Francis says that the Holy Spirit “always comes to sustain us in our weakness and he does this by a special gift: the gift of fortitude.… Through the gift of fortitude, the Holy Spirit liberates the soil of our heart, he frees it from sluggishness, from uncertainty and from all the fears that can hinder it, so that Lord’s Word may be put into practice authentically and with joy. The gift of fortitude … gives us strength.”

Courage, as I like to say, is not the absence of fear, but the gift of the Holy Spirit and virtue that helps us to do what we should do despite our fears — the fear of failure, the fear of suffering, the fear of criticism, the fear even of death.

Pope Francis says that we need this gift in extraordinary and in ordinary situations. “There are difficult moments and extreme situations in which the gift of fortitude manifests itself in an extraordinary, exemplary way. This is the case with those who are facing particularly harsh and painful situations that disrupt their lives and those of their loved ones. The Church shines with the testimony of so many brothers and sisters who have not hesitated to give their very lives in order to remain faithful to the Lord and his Gospel. Even today there is no shortage of Christians who in many parts of the world continue to celebrate and bear witness to their faith with deep conviction and serenity, and persist even when they know that this may involve them paying a higher price. We too, all of us, know people who have experienced difficult situations and great suffering. Let us think of those men, of those women who have a difficult life, who fight to feed their family, to educate their children: they do all of this because the spirit of fortitude is helping them.

“We need, [however,] not think that the gift of fortitude is necessary only on some occasions or in particular situations. This gift must constitute the tenor of our Christian life, in the ordinary daily routine. … We need to be strong every day of our lives, to carry forward our life, our family, our faith. When we face daily life, when difficulties arise, let us remember this: [St. Paul’s words] ‘I can do all things in him who strengthens me.’ The Lord always strengthens us, he never lets us lack strength. The Lord does not try us beyond our possibilities. He is always with us” so that we can recognize, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”

Sometimes, he says, “we may be tempted to give in to laziness, or worse, to discouragement, especially when faced with the hardships and trials of life. In these cases, let us not lose heart, let us invoke the Holy Spirit so that through the gift of fortitude he may lift our heart and communicate new strength and enthusiasm to our life and to our following of Jesus.”

Knowledge is the fifth gift

“When we speak of knowledge,” Pope Francis states, “we immediately think of man’s capacity to learn more and more about the reality that surrounds him and to discover the laws that regulate nature and the universe. The knowledge that comes from the Holy Spirit, however, is not limited to human knowledge; it is a special gift, which leads us to grasp, through creation, the greatness and love of God and his profound relationship with every creature.”

“When our eyes are illumined by the Spirit,” he continues, “they open to contemplate God, in the beauty of nature and in the grandeur of the cosmos, and they lead us to discover how everything speaks to us about Him and His love. All of this arouses in us great wonder and a profound sense of gratitude! … The Spirit leads us to praise the Lord from the depths of our heart and to recognize, in all that we have and all that we are, an invaluable gift of God and a sign of his infinite love for us. … It is in this perspective that we manage to accept man and woman as the summit of creation, as the fulfillment of a plan of love that is impressed in each one of us and that allows us to recognize one another as brothers and sisters.”

What Francis says about how the Holy Spirit helps us to see how creation is connected to the loving plan of the Creator so that we never forget this intrinsic connection, also helps us with the truths of our faith, so that we may remember them and grasp their connection to his saving plans. It’s in this way that the Holy Spirit reminds us of what Jesus taught so that we may connect our created life in all its parts to him.

Pope Francis likewise calls us always to ask for this gift.

The sixth gift is Piety, which is also called reverence.

Pope Francis says this gift “touches the very heart of our Christian life and identity” but it is also often “misconstrued or treated superficially, … because some think that to be pious is to close one’s eyes, to pose like a picture and pretend to be a saint.” That’s not what piety is. The gift of piety, he says, “indicates our belonging to God and our profound relationship with Him, a bond that gives meaning to our life and keeps us sound, in communion with Him, even during the most difficult and tormenting moments.” It points to a “relationship lived with the heart,” our “friendship with God … that changes our life and fills us with passion, with joy. Thus, the gift of piety stirs in us above all gratitude and praise. This is, in fact, the reason and the most authentic meaning of our worship and our adoration. When the Holy Spirit allows us to perceive the presence of the Lord and all his love for us, it warms the heart and moves us quite naturally to prayer and celebration. Piety, therefore, is synonymous with the genuine religious spirit, with filial trust in God, with that capacity to pray to him with the love and simplicity that belongs to those who are humble of heart.”

It’s the gift of reverence that helps us to find joy in prayer and Eucharistic adoration, in receiving God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance, in the awesome privilege we have to hear God speaking to us in the words of Sacred Scripture and feeding us with himself. How much our age needs this gift to be able to give God not only his proper place but the love he deserves!

This gift of reverencing God, of learning how to treat him as he deserves, also changes the way we reverence and treat others. “If the gift of piety makes us grow in relation to and in communion with God and leads us to live as his children,” Pope Francis says, “at the same time, it helps us to pass this love on to others as well and to recognize them as our brothers and sisters. … The gift of piety means to be truly capable of rejoicing with those who rejoice, of weeping with those who weep, of being close to those who are lonely or in anguish, of correcting those in error, of consoling the afflicted, of welcoming and helping those in need.” St. Paul calls all Christian spouses to “reverence one another out of reverence for Christ,” because they’re able to grasp that the other is beloved by God and made in his image and likeness. A similar type of reverence is meant to pervade all our relations, because we’re never greeting a mere mortal but someone so precious to God that he gave his own life to save that person’s. The gift of piety also helps us to have greater reverence for ourselves as temples of the Holy Spirit, of taking good care of our body and soul. “May the Holy Spirit grant to all of us this gift of piety,” Pope Francis concludes.

The gift of Fear of the Lord

The last gift, which Pope Francis is expected to speak about this Wednesday, is the gift of fear of the Lord. This is not a fear of punishment but a holy awe of God that leads us not to want to do anything that would displease him because we love him so much.

We need this gift often because he helps us to avoid being presumptuous with God. We can think that our sins really don’t offend him or we can only detest our sins because of the consequences of disorder and pain it introduces into our lives, into others’ lives and into our eternal life, but the gift of holy fear of the Lord helps us to avoid sin out of a deep love for God such that we wouldn’t want to displease him in the least way.

The difference between a fear of punishment (what the Portuguese would call medo) and a fear of displeasing a loved one (temor) which is the proper understanding of the term “fear” in this Gift of the Holy Spirit we all learn as we’re growing up. At the beginning, we might be afraid of being grounded or spanked or otherwise punished by our parents if we do something wrong. But over the course of time, as we learn truly to love our parents, our “fear” changes, because we no longer care as much about the consequences of our misdeeds to us but rather to them.

This was brought home to me once when I was probably about 8 or 9 years old. They were building two apartment buildings across from my home and one day I was there with a bunch of the kids from the neighborhood in the sandy foundation of one of the apartment buildings facing the second one where they had just put in the sliding glass doors for each of the balconies. Suddenly, most of my friends started picking up rocks from within the sandy foundation and throwing them to try to break the windows of the glass doors. In various cases they were successful. One of the neighbors, who happened to be a police officer, came running out of his house. All of my friends scattered. But because I hadn’t done a thing — in fact, I had tried to get them to stop — I had no reason to run. So I stayed there alone. The police officer wouldn’t accept my work that I hadn’t been throwing rocks. And as he was walking with me to my home to confront my parents about it, I was not really worried at all as to whether I would be punished but I was very worried about whether my parents would believe even for a minute that they had raised a son who would vandalize other peoples’ property in that way. I had a holy fear of hurting my parents.

That’s the type of fear we should have with regard to God. We are his sons and daughters. By being called Christians, we are supposed to be “little Christs.” The fear of the Lord is the flip side of the gift of piety, whereby we never want to do anything to fill him with shame, but rather want to do everything we can to please him.

Begging for the Gift at the Little Pentecost of Each Mass

Today we ask the Holy Spirit, together with Pope Francis, “with your sevenfold gift descend.” We ask him to fill us with each of these much-needed helps so that we might live the Christian life. We ask him to give us the grace to conform our whole life to them. And that’s exactly what the Holy Spirit wants to give us on Pentecost. Today we come not to the Cenacle in Jerusalem or to the Catacombs on the Via Appia, but to this Church of St. Bernadette on Eastern Avenue waiting for the Holy Spirit to respond to that prayer.

And it’s no surprise that the Holy Spirit responds most readily to that prayer in the context of the Mass. Pentecost happened in the same upper room where Jesus gave his body and blood for the first time. St. Philip’s great Pentecost miracle happened in a place in which Christians for centuries celebrated Mass. So he seeks to respond during the context of the liturgy to these our prayers.

Pope Benedict XVI said in 2008 in Australia, “The Eucharist is a ‘perpetual Pentecost’ since every time we celebrate Mass we receive the Holy Spirit who unites us more deeply with Christ and transforms us into Him.” Today, on this Pentecost of Pentecosts, he wants to fill us with fire, a fire that will overflow into all parts of our life. He wants to change us the way he changed the apostles on that first Pentecost. He wants us to open up our mouths in awe like St. Philip Neri did, so that he can change us from within, from our heart outward.

And so, as we look at the new Pentecost banner in the sanctuary and see how he came down upon the apostles and Mary after so much persevering prayer, we ask all their intercession as we pray, “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in us the real fire of your love!” “Come, Holy Spirit, in your sevenfold gift descend.” “Send forth your Spirit and we shall be recreated and through us you will renew the face of the earth!”

 

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1
ACTS 2:1-11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34

R/ (cf. 30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R/ Alleluia.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
How manifold are your works, O Lord!
the earth is full of your creatures;
R/ Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R/ Alleluia.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD be glad in his works!
Pleasing to him be my theme;
I will be glad in the LORD.
R/ Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R/ Alleluia.
If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
R/ Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R/ Alleluia.

Reading 2
1 COR 12:3B-7, 12-13

Brothers and sisters:
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.

As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

Sequence – Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!

Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.

You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;

In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!

Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;

Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.
Alleluia.

Gospel
JN 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”