It’s PENTECOST…and there is nothing more dramatic than the Scriptures in describing what happened to the apostles and Mary as they gathered in the Upper Room, wondering what they could do and be, in the absence of Jesus. He had ascended to his Father; however, Jesus had said He would not leave them orphans. What did that mean? Let us put ourselves in that room and listen to what the Acts of the Holy Spirit were on that first Pentecost:
When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning, there was a sound like a strong wind—gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks. And they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them. [Acts 2]
Would that experience not put the “fear of the Lord” into the heart of the holiest of persons? Scripture says, “They were cut to the quick and those who were there listening asked Peter and the other apostles: ‘Brothers! Brothers! So now what do we do?'”
Peter knew what they/we had to do, so he gave us a homily:
Change your lives. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you…Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.
And how did their lives change? How might we best receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?
They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.
Even the words, the imagery, the sounds, the responses and the movements expressed in Acts 2 fill my heart with desire for a new Pentecost in my life! We know there are a zillion reasons why we need the Holy Spirit to continue coming into our lives and world. Let us take a moment—even NOW—to think of but THREE such reasons…and then let us pray together:
Come, Spirit of God,
Come, Spirit of love,
Spirit of peace, of faith, of strength, of holy joy.
Come, secret joy, into the tears of our world.
Amen and amen. (Karl Rahner)
Renée Domeier, OSB
Photo: The cross in Sacred Heart Chapel, taken by oblate Kathleen Kjolhaug