Pentecost Sunday: Spirit of Peace

Excerpt from Take Time For Him: Some More

by Angela M Jendro

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Pentecost Sunday

Read the Gospel of John 20:19-23

Meditation Reflection:

The health of a culture can be measured to some extent by its general effects in society – positively or negatively.  For example, the culture of despair heavy in post-war Europe together with materialist individualism resulted in an astonishing decline in birth rate.  George Weigel described it as literally “demographic suicide” and sourced its illness to a spiritual crisis in his book The Cube and the Cathedral.

In American culture today, we see record levels of anxiety and depression rampant through all ages, income levels and geographic regions.  In teens and young adults, the suicide rate has jumped dramatically over the last 10-15 years, making it the second leading cause of death for that age group.

How much we need Jesus and His words today: “Peace be with you”!

Pope St. John Paull II’s opening words of his pontificate, and the recurring theme of his many teachings was Jesus’ command: “Be not afraid.”

Certainly mental illness plays a real and significant role in the overall sickness plaguing our society. At the same time, we can’t overlook the toxins present in our culture that either make us more vulnerable to such illnesses, or at least exacerbate them. Remedies should include professional therapy and possibly medication.  At the same time, we also have a responsibility to change the culture – to restore youthful optimism in our youth, respect the dignity and meaning of every human life, honor the little way that builds a strong society rather than celebrating only the famous.

If we want full recovery though, not just surviving but thriving, then we need to “Receive the Holy Spirit (v.22). 

Even the apostles were stricken with fear and anxiety in the upper room.  They had just seen Jesus crucified and knew they might be next.  All they had believed in, all they had sacrificed for, appeared to be for naught.  Then, “Jesus came and stood among them,” resurrected!  “He showed them has hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord” (v. 20).  This is the source of Christian hope – seeing our risen Lord.  Suffering and apparent failure no longer mean death, but rather new life through Christ.  When we feel like all is lost, we too need to look at the risen Lord, confident in His ability to redeem.

How much our culture needs this hope, how many people need this!  Generational studies expert Dr. Jean Twange, in her book iGen, attributes much of young people’s failure to launch to fear of failure.  Their obsession with being safe and with perfection cripples their ability to develop by trying new things and taking reasonable risks. Many don’t even have their drivers license by the age of 18 because they are afraid of failing the test!

In Christ we have our hope and through the gift of His Spirit we receive the necessary peace and courage to live in that hope.  Before Pentecost, one of the twelve had committed suicide and the other eleven were hiding in fear.  After Pentecost, they left the room on fire for Christ and preached the Gospel with power and zeal – baptizing, healing, and even accepting martyrdom themselves. 

To live in this same peace, we too need the Holy Spirit.  We receive the indwelling of the Spirit in Baptism, a strengthening of His action in our hearts through Confirmation, and the ongoing animation of His works in our soul through nurturing our relationship with Him in prayer and the Eucharist. 

When I feel discouraged, the best antidote is to spend time to friends and family who are encouraging.  When I’m anxious and worried, being in the presence of someone filled with confidence and strength eases me.  When I’m feeling sad and alone, spending time with a loved one restores my heart.  Being in the presence of the Holy Spirit effects all of these.  When I feel overwhelmed or defeated, sitting in the stillness of prayer, the Spirit replenish me and even bears a fruit or two (see Galatians 5:22-23).

“‘If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.”’ Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39

Jesus has risen, He has been glorified, and He has sent His Spirit among us for the salvation of our souls. Praise be to God!  Let us receive Him today in our hearts and in our culture.


  • Imagine the risen Lord, standing before you, His pierced hands outstretched, and saying to you personally, “Peace be with you”.
  • Consider these words of Christ below regarding the Holy Spirit:
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:26-27)
  • How is the peace of Christ different than the peace of the world?
    • How can we “not let” our hearts be troubled?  What must you do to stay near the Holy Spirit and maintain this source of peace?
  • How does the resurrection change everything? Offer to Christ your present failure, struggle, or loss for Him to redeem.  Remember that He resurrects us to new life though, not the old.

Practical Application:

  • Develop your relationship with the Holy Spirit
    • Pray to the Holy Spirit throughout the day, ask for His help and guidance.
    • Read the Scriptures
    • Reflect on the fruits and gifts of the Spirit.
    • Listen to Catholic podcasts or read good books about the Holy Spirit.
  • Try to live as a person of peace. Ask the Spirit for help!

All Rights Reserved © 2020 Angela M Jendro

Holy Spirit, Help Me!…Gospel Meditation for the Feast of Pentecost

by Angela Lambert

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May 15th, 2016; Pentecost

Gospel of John 14:15-16, 23b-26 NAB

Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always. “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Those who do not love me do not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.

 Meditation Reflection:

Christ’s greatest gift to us – the first fruit of all of His suffering, death, and resurrection, the first thing He asks the Father on our behalf from His throne in Heaven – is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  In the gift of the Holy Spirit we experience the mystery of the Trinity.  God is one and therefore the Spirit makes Christ present in our soul along with the Father.  At the same time, God is three Persons, and therefore Jesus explains that He must ascend to Heaven so that the Spirit may descend upon us.  Because Christ merited the forgiveness of our sins, His Spirit could begin His work of cleansing us and sanctifying us.  The Spirit applies the healing balm of Christ’s sacrifice to the wounds of our sins and works as fast as we will allow to help us regain spiritual health and freedom.

The Spirit is the primary mover in our conversion.  He prompts us to turn to God, provides the strength to actually make the conversion, sanctifies our souls with the grace of Baptism and the sacraments, then guides the ongoing process of union with Christ.  At the same time, the Spirit requires our cooperation.  We can hasten or hinder His work.  It reminds me of trying to clean the house with my three kids.  Granted, a mother has to come to peace with a certain level of mess if she ever wants to survive motherhood.  At the same time, order and cleanliness lend beauty and peace to a home.  During those times when I attempt to clean everything up and restore order to the house my kids’ cooperation (or lack there of) unavoidably determines the success and timeframe of my effort.  When my kids were little I felt like a gerbil running in it’s wheel.  As soon as I cleaned up one mess I would turn around to find my kids had made another.  If I stopped to read with them or take them outside where they couldn’t mess up the house, I couldn’t clean it up either.   As they got a little older I could finally kick them outside to play while I cleaned inside or “quarantine” off rooms one by one from the kids as they were cleaned.  Still, work was often slowed by needs for water or snacks, complaints and fighting, etc.  My kids are now at an age where these challenges remain but they are old enough to pitch in and help. Our life is busier with activities and the house gets neglected by our rush in and out.  As a result, on days where we are all home I will tell the kids “We all have to work together for one hour and we can get everything back in order.”  I remind them that I can no longer do it on my own and I need their help.  I am amazed at how the house can turn around so fast when everyone pitches in.  That’s not to say that I don’t take the opportunity to clean when they are all away from the house and I can get things done uninterruptedly.  However, I’ve learned that I have to employ their help on a more regular basis with the schedule of the new stage we’re in.

Similarly, the Holy Spirit can work in our souls to the extent that we cooperate.  When our faith is still immature we tend to act like little kids – creating one mess after another.  We may feel like progress is slow and that God isn’t doing very much.  However, we need to be honest about our expectations.  Every parent who has ever stayed at home with the kids knows how hard they work all day with nothing visible to show for it.  The other parent may leave for work and return with the house looking the same or worse than when they left.  However, what’s not reflected in that picture is the hundreds of other messes cleaned up constantly, the love and nurturing that took place, and the work at developing a child’s heart and mind.  The Spirit works in our souls in a similar way – drawing our minds up to God, comforting us in our sorrows, forming our conscience, encouraging us, and cleaning up our constant messes.

As we mature in the faith we become less of a hindrance to the Spirit and He works more efficiently in our soul.  As we become less attached to sin the messes slow (some) and the Spirit can make greater progress teaching us about Christ and deepening our love.

Finally, the mature Christian cooperates with the Holy Spirit in the work of following Christ and grows quickly in union with God.  The Sacrament of Confirmation celebrates this as we receive an increase in the Holy Spirit and prepare to be soldiers of Christ, contributors to the faith we have received.

It’s natural for children to depend on their parents more heavily when they are young.  It’s also an expectation that they contribute to family life as they get older.  The Holy Spirit makes us adopted sons and daughters of the Lord.  Through His indwelling we experience the nurturing necessary for sanctification and mature love of God.  Moreover, He blesses us with gifts to strengthen and nurture the faith of others.

May we all this Pentecost, reflect on the gracious work of God in our lives, that others may say of us as the crowd did in Acts 2:11“we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”


  • Consider your cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
    • Ask the Holy Spirit to show you habitual sins you struggle with and pray for His help to overcome them.
    • Consider how you can grow in virtue so that the Holy Spirit can act even more powerfully within you. The virtue of purity especially increases the Holy Spirit.
  • Christ calls the Holy Spirit the “Paraclete.” Consider each of the meanings of Paraclete – “advocate”, “intercessor”, “teacher, “helper”, “comforter”.
    • When has the Holy Spirit advocated on your behalf? Consider the sins you have been freed from because the Holy Spirit advocated for you before the Father.  Consider a time when you need the Holy Spirit to advocate for you in the heart of another person.
    • The Spirit intercedes for us and teaches us how to pray.  Thank the Holy Spirit for His prayers on your behalf.  Spend 5 minutes of silent prayer just letting the Holy Spirit speak for you to God.
    • Ask the Holy Spirit to open your mind and heart to God’s word in Scripture. Ask Him to help you see God’s truth in the events of your daily life.  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ to you.
    • Consider a time the Holy Spirit gave you profound peace when you were suffering and in pain. Invite the Holy Spirit to bring His comfort now and for the grace to turn to Him first.
  • Paul tells us in I Corinthians 12 that the Spirit bestows different gifts upon Christians for the upbuilding of the whole body. Read I Corinthinas 12 and pray about what your gift is and how you can put it at the service of Christ.

Make a Resolution (Practical Application):

  • Each day this week ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the presence of Christ, to your sins, and to God’s will.
  • Determine one way to grow in the virtue of purity and do it each day this week.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit for the opportunity to serve God with the gifts He has given you. Then take that opportunity each day.
  • Each day, take a minute to praise God for His mighty works in your life.


~ Written by Angela Lambert © 2016

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