I remember at one of the funerals I led a year or so ago, a son was giving a tribute about his mother. He spoke of living in suburban Christchurch in the 1960’s and 70’s and how there were ‘no fences between the houses and no one locked their doors – children ran freely from house to house.’ Many of us will remember this about our childhood.
This is also our understanding of Jewish community life at the time of Jesus. Houses were unlocked, and children in particular wandered in and out of the homes of their friends. This might alert us to the fact that the followers of Jesus had locked themselves away after his death was a sign that they had truly cut themselves off from the community – they must have been particularly frightened and afraid.
When Jesus came among them He cut through their fear. “Receive the Holy Spirit.” he said, And the locked door was replaced by courage, joy, and inner freedom.
Our living of a Catholic, Christian life can lead us to being ‘shut in’, overly cautious, even a little afraid to be a witness of Christ in the world. The antidote – it’s just three words; “Come Holy Spirit”.
On this great festival of Pentecost I offer you a challenge – make those words your own. The Father sent the Son to give the Spirit – why would we refuse such a gift ?