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Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost and reflect on Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit and the trial and triumph of life. Our Gospel brings us back to the Book of John, where we now explore an expanded version of the text we reflected on together at the start of our Easter season.

We return to this reading to consider the relationship among peace, forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit.

Behind locked doors, the disciples find themselves in the presence of the Resurrected Jesus—and they rejoiced.

Jesus says, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

With those words, Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

As we reflect on these words, we can find comfort in the gift of peace Jesus offers and purpose in his commission to share it with others.

We are not asked to continue Jesus’ work alone. As we read in our Gospel, the Holy Spirit is given to us all—guiding us through the trials and triumph we face as agents of peace.

But what happens when our trials overwhelm our triumphs? How do we work in the spirit of peace at a time when global conflicts abound?

We offer an answer through the lived experiences of Carolyn Flaherty, a CMMB volunteer nurse who returned home from serving in South Sudan to find another unexpected unknown.

“Coming back to the U.S., I was immediately confronted with the chaos of the pandemic’s onset and the stress of a new job. Yet I found support in the lessons I learned in South Sudan… Amidst this uncertainty, I realized how small I am in this world, deepened my trust in God, and understood that he has a plan for our ultimate good. This belief carried me through those challenging times,” reflected Carolyn.

This is but one moving excerpt from Carolyn’s CMMB update, where she wrote to us of her news regarding life’s next chapter. Visit our volunteer blog to learn about Carolyn’s latest pursuits and how her time in South Sudan helped reveal her path.

As you embark on this new day, we hope today’s Gospel reflection, plus Carolyn’s words of trust, intention, and purpose, serve as a helpful guide through your own personal trials and triumph alike

Portions of this weekly reflection were inspired by the Loyola Press Sunday Connection