Stories about people with special powers fascinate us. People who are able to fly; move things with their eyes; talk to animals. Of course it’s Hollywood and the camera exaggerate reality. But we like to imagine that human beings can have extraordinary powers.
Fact is that we do have extraordinary powers given to us by the Holy Spirit. That’s what Pentecost is about—a celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Church—the first community of believers who at first were afraid but then lost all fear. They exploded out into the world ready to speak about Jesus—the new life they had found in the Resurrection—the promise of immortality. Something wonderful happened behind closed doors—forgiveness. They felt forgiven and were willing to forgive others. When we are forgiven a sense of freedom comes upon us. The enemy of forgiveness is the sin of pride—which encompasses all sins. Every possible sin known to humanity fits under the category of pride. Sin is like a cancer—it spreads if left untreated. The infection can destroy the potential we have to come close to God. The reason is simple: we tend to listen to the voice of guilt—the liar—the enemy. He will always point to our faults and try to convince us that we are unforgiveable. Sad thing is that countless folks are more ready to believe in their unworthiness than in the mercy of God. Little wonder that Jesus said that there is only one unforgiveable sin: the sin against the Holy Spirit.
The sin against the Holy Spirit is to deny the mercy of God—to despair. That’s a dark place. Unfortunately some people don’t want to believe that all they have to do is ask forgiveness, then they can come home. We have the power. All we have to do is unwrap the gift. At Pentecost everything that the Church needed was granted and continues to be given. God is not stingy with His gifts. The Holy Spirit continues to look out for us—constantly lighting the way so that we won’t be in the dark.
When someone hurts us we want to throw them away, not associate with them. The “throw away” mentality has crept into our society, into our families, even into our Church. Such a mindset causes families to dissolve—long friendships are broken—people get offended and are unwilling to forgive. The Lord calls us to be community—to be His Body—His disciples. Jesus knew that we would have problems; that’s why He gave us the Holy Spirit—that’s why He gave us the power to forgive each other. Since we have the power to forgive how can we choose not to forgive? Why would we choose to retain—not to let go of a sin (our own or someone else’s)? Such behavior is irrational—crazy. Having a gift and choosing not to use the gift is a slap to God. We can never say, “I just can’t forgive myself or I just can’t forgive that person.” We can—we choose not to. That the sin against the Holy Spirit—un-forgiveness—the retention of the negative. Time to be free. Look at the example of Christ. He forgave everybody, even His executors. He continues to forgive us. Healing power is all around us, especially in the Eucharist. We congratulate the children who will approach the Table of the Lord for the first time. We rejoice with you and we ask that you pray for us.
Pray especially for all the people who have trouble forgiving each other. May all of us learn from your innocence.