This reflection encourages youth to consider how they see the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This is a lesson for Pentecost in particular.

Start with a game about movement.

Divide the group into pairs. Give each pair a deflated balloon but tell them not to blow it up until instructed to do so.

We are going to play a game. You must stand six feet away from your partner. Bat the balloon to your partner with your hand and have your partner bat it back. You cannot catch or hold the balloon. The pair which keeps their balloon in the air the longest, wins.

If they start blowing up their balloons to play the game, remind them that they have not been instructed to blow up the balloons yet. They must play the game with deflated balloons.

Now let’s talk about how that went.

  • How successful were you in getting the balloon to your partner?
  • What would have made this game easier?

Now let them blow up the balloons and play the game again.

  • It was a little easier this time. Why?
  • Are you usually aware of the air around you?
  • How surprising is it that a little air could make such a big difference in this game?

In a similar way, we might not always be aware of the Holy Spirit in our lives. But the Holy Spirit has a huge impact on how we pass the faith to others. The Spirit makes movement of our hearts and the hearts of others possible.

Read the gospel:

John 20:19-23 (The disciples receive the Holy Spirit) – the Gospel Reading for the Pentecost – Years A, B, and C

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

John 20:19-23

In this gospel, the Holy Spirit is presented as breath. This might not seem like much. But think about how the breath we used to fill up those balloons made such a difference in our game.

In the same way, God breathes life into us through the Holy Spirit. Without breath, our balloons couldn’t move. They were stuck where they were. In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us move. It helps us leave our comfort zone and spread the gospel.

  • What are some ways you can share your faith with those around you?
  • What is keeping you from doing this? How are you stuck?
  • Is there a gift of the Holy Spirit which would help you get unstuck?
  • What might you do to allow the Spirit to move you?

The Holy Spirit can help us along the path of discipleship, but we must ask for assistance. God never forces himself into our lives. This week, try praying to the Holy Spirit every day. St. Augustine’s prayer to the Holy Spirit is a simple, beautiful prayer which can help you do this. Or you can just pray from your heart.


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