If we were to think back to those first followers of Jesus, we do so in terms of strength and stability.  We remember them as men who went out to meet life and lived it with great enthusiasm.  They faced persecution with dignity, met danger with courage, and handled problems with unwavering confidence.  In short, they were the kind of persons we all would like to be.  And that image of them is for the most part accurate.  However, we need to remember that they were not that way all of their lives.

                The gospels tell us that before Pentecost they were together in the upper room locked behind closed doors, because they feared the Jews.  In a very real sense, they were in prison; but it was a prison of their own making.  The doors were locked but they were locked from the inside.  The men behind those doors simply did not have the courage and strength to go out and face up to life.

                Don’t you feel like that sometimes – imprisoned by fear, intimidated by life?  Oftentimes our fears are not so well defined.  It may just be a haunting uneasiness, a recurring anxiety that something is waiting in the wings.  A person fears for his/her job.  A mother alone fears for the future of her children.  A young person fears the rejection of his/her peers.  A father with heavy responsibilities fears for his family’s financial stability.  Thus, we may find ourselves virtual prisoners, held hostage by our own fears.  And it isn’t all imagination, for the truth is that the living out of our life can be a dangerous and difficult thing.

                Those first disciples of Jesus knew that well.  They had watched the world crucify their Lord, and they lived in dread of what the world might do to them.  Into the scene walked Jesus and He breathed on them His precious gift of the Holy spirit.  That Holy Spirit in their lives made all difference in the world.

                We as a parish celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon those first disciples and upon each of us through our Baptism and Confirmation.  That same Holy Spirit is within us!  Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will make a difference in our lives.  What the Holy Spirit did for the first followers of Jesus, He can do for us today.  Let us ask the Holy Spirit to transform our lives so that we too can live in the freedom of God’s love and be the kind of person we all would like to be.