Living in the Season of the Holy Spirit #1: Forgiveness

By Fr. Ron Will, CPPS

Today we begin a seven-week series titled “Living in the Season of the Holy Spirit.”

When we live under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we participate in a new creation. This is what we mean when we speak of the “Season of the Holy Spirit.”

Over the next seven weeks I will be exploring with you seven key words or concepts. Today the first word is: forgiveness.

According to John 20, when Jesus appeared on Easter Sunday evening to the frightened disciples who had hidden behind locked doors, he said “Peace be with you.” He showed them his hands and his side and he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

All the reflections in this series can be found here: Living in the Season of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus words and, more importantly, his attitude of peace put the frightened disciples at ease.

But then he wasted no time in putting them to work. He had not come for a cozy Easter Sunday dinner with them. He said: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” He sent them on mission. His mission. They were to bring people into relationship with God, to extend God’s loving mercy to all people.

The core value of their mission was to offer forgiveness.

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt
Detail from ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt’

There’s a famous painting by Rembrandt called “The Return of the Prodigal Son.” (See the image above and to right.) Perhaps you’re familiar with it. It depicts the merciful father welcoming home the prodigal son, his arms embracing him with love with forgiveness. The merciful Father represents God. The prodigal son represents you and me.

Rembrandt’s painting is a beautiful image to get in touch with the gift of forgiveness that God wants to give to each one of us.

It is a beautiful image on which to dwell for a while.

The first key word the Holy Spirit wants to share with you and wants you to share with others is: Forgiveness.

Let us pray together:

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
Enkindle in us the fire of your Love.
Send forth your spirit, and we shall be re-created
and you shall renew the face of the Earth.

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This article is being republished. It first appeared on June 23, 2020.


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