We have journeyed together through Lent, the Easter Season, the Ascension and are now preparing for the celebration of Pentecost. Our spiritual lives are reflections of these liturgical seasons. “We remember and we celebrate”, as the song says.
There are so many phrases in the readings of Pentecost day:
From the Acts of the Apostles:
…Jews from many nations were all in one place together (Jerusalem).
…Each one heard the disciples speaking in his or her own language.
…They were astounded … how does this happen?
From St. Paul:
…The body is one, though many parts.
…There are many spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit.
…The same God produces these gifts in everyone.
…In one Spirit, we are all baptized into one Body.
From St. John’s Gospel:
…Peace be with you! As the Father sent me, I send you.
In today’s world, we hear so many voices, speaking of different topics. There is so much noise. Can we hear what is being said? We can translate words by the touch of a button … it translates literally, but where is the sense/meaning of the words? All the words above from the readings are ones we have heard over and over. They are familiar. If we believe them, do we try to live them? Do I reach out to others who do not agree with me? What attitude do I have towards others who speak a different language?
The concepts in these readings are all about unity. We can be a unifying force by our actions, our thoughts, our decisions. When we are confronted by disunity in our family, it can be challenging. When we see disunity in a meeting, we can feel unsettled. When we see disunity in our world, we can feel helpless and say the situation is beyond us.
These readings show us that unity is a step-by-step process. The disciples were not all unified at the beginning of their going forth. One betrayed Jesus; another denied him three times; one did not believe unless he touched the wounds. These were the ones chosen, faults and all.
The Gospel message is that we are sent. The disciples had to learn this, too. They could not just stay in a locked room, hiding. What kind of messenger am I? How am I a face of that peace and unity? We can’t just stay in our own little world, we are called and sent to bring the message of Christ to those with whom we interact each day. As St. Benedict says in the Rule, “All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ”. (Chapter 53:1)
The underlying concept is that ALL are one in the spirit. ALL are gifted by the spirit. We take time to see and develop our gifts and talents. We look at others in our life and strive to see their gifts and talents. It takes all of us, working/striving/journeying together towards creating a more just world. The gifts are freely given. We have the responsibility to be those beacons of hope in our world, rising above the noise and the discord, just as the disciples did on Pentecost. Let’s make that happen in our circle of influence, as we ALL are sent and go forth.