The Feast of Pentecost Yr. A
(Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 103(104); 1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13; John 20:19-23)
Theme: The Recreative Fire & Wind of the Holy Spirit
Brothers and sisters, we have finally reached the mountaintop of everything good says John Chrysostom. Today is the day of the hope of perfection, the end of expectation, the longing for salvation, the fulfilment of prayer and the image of patience.
For the Jews, the feast of Pentecost/Shavuoth commemorates the offering of first fruits and the covenantal birth of a new People of God on Mount Sinai. For us, Pentecost commemorates Jesus’ recreation of the world and the opening of humanity for the entry of the Holy Spirit. As Psalm 104:30 says, the Holy Spirit comes to renew the face of the earth as He did in Genesis 1:2 when the world was created.
On the day of Pentecost, Jesus revived his disciples and made them bearers of the nature and character of the New Creation. He breathes his own breath into their nostrils paving the way for the entry of the Spirit of God who comes to make all persons new in Christ Jesus. Thus, the Holy Spirit reversed the curse of division of language and people resulting from the construction of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. He reunited God’s People and animated the spread of the Gospel of Mercy and Fullness of Life, which gave birth to the Body of Christ.
Thus, just as Yahweh descended upon Mount Sinai in the form of Fire to posit the Old Law before His People in Exodus 19:18, so also on Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles in tongues as of fire to offer the New Law inscribed in their hearts. Ezekiel 36:26 says, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. Thus, Jesus in today’s gospel bestows the Spirit upon his disciples by breathing on them, which clearly identifies Him as the Heralder of the New Creation, and His disciples as co-heralders of the message of Life. Like Elisha in 2King 2:9 who received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, the Apostles of Jesus received Jesus’ Divine Life and commenced the propagation of the gospel of salvation.
As brothers and sisters of the Apostles, friends and children of God, we have repented; we have been baptized, and we have received the Holy Spirits, that is, the life of God, the breath of God and the love of God. Hence, we are able to live, to move, and to have our being (Act 17:28). Thus, because we have the Spirit of the Lord, we are also able to testify that Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords, as St Paul notes in the second reading, and we are able do greater things in the name of the Lord as Jesus declared in John 14:12. Therefore, we have no excuse; cause someone to smile today; cause someone to think of Jesus; cause someone to love God and neighbour; cause someone to hope again;