This Sunday’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles (2: 1-11) describes the event of Pentecost, while the Gospel (John 20: 19-23) is the story of Christ’s first appearance to his disciples after his resurrection. Both texts describe a group “all in one place together,” and in both readings there is the element of surprise from an extraordinary event. “Suddenly from the sky came a noise like a strong driving wind,” says Acts, a wind that prepares the apostles for the coming of the Holy Spirit and enables them to speak in different tongues. In the Gospel, Christ comes silently in the evening of the first day of the week, “when the doors were locked” as the disciples were gathered in fear. To dispel that fear and reassure them, Jesus says, “Peace be with you,” simple and calming words meant to quiet their anxiety. In the New Testament, the word “peace” is used more than 100 times, a testament to the Scripture writers who instinctively remembered the word and the bliss it could impart. Again, Christ says, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Implicit in that command is the word “peace,” that universal mandate to live and practice life in the spirit of the Risen Christ who came to redeem all of mankind by love and kindness. And then, as he departs on this evening, Jesus says, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” with the reminder to forgive the sins of others — certainly an action that lays a foundation for peace. Fifty days later, on that first Pentecost, the apostles are indeed filled with the Spirit that only peace can bring.