Charles-Édouard Jeanneret « Le Corbusier »
Architecture is maybe more than any other art form, part of our everyday life. The houses we live in, the buildings we work in, the churches we worship in are all important surroundings that we as human beings live in. In 1953, new types of building were designed to eliminate the acute post-war housing shortage in Berlin. Le Corbusier built this block of 530 apartments in a style we now know as Brutalism.
The image that stays with me in the reading today is that the happiness of heaven is spoken of as in a house: “there are many rooms in a house” and Jesus says he will prepare it for us. There is something very homely about the image Jesus draws today: the rooms in our Father’s house and Jesus getting the accommodation ready.
John 20: 19-23
In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, “Peace be with you,” and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, “Peace be with you. “As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.” After saying this he breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.”
The stories we heard so far in the last Sundays, are leading to this big event Pentecost: fullness of the Spirit and birth of a new era and of the Church.
Luke tells us what happened on the day of Pentecost in his book of the Acts of the Apostles. He speaks first of how the Apostles and Mary experienced it, and then he tells us what happened to the many people who were near the place. For all of them it was indeed a transforming experience.
John tells us that Pentecost is the decisive and programmatic representation of how the Church, born of Easter, must be open to all people. The Spirit that Jesus "breathed" into them gave them discernment, joy and the power to forgive sins to all people. From now on, no one could prevent the Apostles to announce this message of life.
vThe promise of Jesus is accomplished
Before and after his death and resurrection, Jesus promised to give his disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew that his disciples would need the power of the Holy Spirit to carry out the mission entrusted to them. The gift of the Holy Spirit was conditional upon the ascension of Jesus to the right hand of the Father. That is why Jesus instructed the apostles to wait in Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49). The presence of the Holy Spirit, has led the Church until now. That presence of the Spirit will continue to do so until the end of time.
vThe Holy Spirit empowered the Apostles
The Spirit of the Lord was present throughout Easter and was the real architect of the early church, from the first day that Jesus was not with them. Moreover, just as Jesus was anointed with the Spirit at the beginning of His ministry, so the disciples needed the anointing of the Holy Spirit to carry out the mission entrusted to them by Jesus. The apostles after receiving the fullness of the Spirit and thus the power to announce the Good News began their mission and no one could stop them.
vDiscernment, peace and joy, fruits of the Spirit
When Jesus rose from the dead, his communication with the disciples was through the Spirit. The Spirit that he "breathed" on them, gave them discernment, joy and power to forgive the sins of all people. The greeting of peace-shalom is repeated twice in today’s gospel to confirm something that goes far beyond the everyday greeting in the biblical world and among the Jews. It is the greeting from God and it is the greeting in preparation for what he is about to bestow on his own: the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the union between the risen Jesus and the Holy Spirit is evident. It will be the same Spirit, who will guarantee them the event of the resurrection and that of the mission. Saint Paul later on, will enumerate the gifts of the Holy Spirit that had been given to men and women through the history of the Church in 1Corinthians c.12.
The greatness of Pentecost, which is a manifestation of the New Covenant, no longer in a written, dead law, but in the new life, which comes to the Church through the breath of the Spirit of the Risen One. This is how it was in the early days among the disciples of Jesus. After a prolonged Paschal period, they found themselves caught up in an irresistible, marvellous power, which led them with new wings to proclaim the message of salvation. They faced countless difficulties but they were undeterred. That wonderful adventure began by them we must joyfully continue filled with the Spirit.
After Jesus’ Resurrection, the fear of the Apostles was not suddenly dispelled. But here at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit rested upon them, those men emerged fearless and began to proclaim the Good News of the crucified and risen Christ to all. They were not afraid because they felt they were in the hand of the strongest One. Yes, wherever the Spirit of God enters he puts the fear to flight; he makes us know and feel that we are in the hand of an Omnipotence of love. His infinite love never abandons us (Pope Benedict XVI).
Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and guide me in your way of life, truth, and goodness. Free me from ignorance of your truth, and from deception and moral blindness caused by sinful pride and the refusal to believe and obey your word of truth. May I love you with all of my heart, mind, and strength, and seek to please you in all things with joy and freedom. Amen
Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14
1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host!
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth.
12 Young men and maidens together, old men and children!
13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD!
 John 20,22: And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
 Acts 2,4: They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave utterance.
John, 20, 20-21 when he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.”