Bro. George Diones
Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday. For the Israelites, Pentecost (meaning fiftieth) was a harvest festival celebrated fifty days after the beginning of the harvest. When the Jerusalem Temple was built, this harvest festival was transformed into a pilgrimage feast to celebrate the covenant that God had made with Israel on Mt. Sinai. For us Christians, Pentecost marks the actual beginning of the Church and her missionary endeavors. It is the feast which occupies a very important and prominent position in the Church’s history.
St. Luke in our first reading today describes the experience of God by the people, not unlike that took place at Sinai: a vibrant violent wind and flames of fire fill the air. This is a new coming of God, not with the laws but with the Holy Spirit. These flames divided into tongues and come to rest on each one. All who were there were filled with the Holy Spirit.
In our gospel today, John tells us of a new coming of God, not with laws but with the Spirit. When Jesus said “Peace be to you,” peace is from the Hebrew word Shalom which means to be perfect, full, a mighty blessing – the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the human beings. And then Jesus breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This was first used at the beginning of creation – the spirit breathed life into chaos of creation, and into the first humans. At Pentecost God breathed life into the Church.
The Holy Spirit is the breath of God. It is the divine life of God, the divine energy of God coming from the heart of God. The Holy Spirit helps us to live in the mystery of God. It is the new burst of creative energy so that we become a new creation in the Church and in the world.
The Spirit descended on the gathering of men and women in fire and wind breathed on them, the breath of the Spirit inspiring them to preach the Gospel. It is the Spirit that teaches us everything even the depths of God. The Spirit empowers us to our mission. As St. Luke said in Acts “You will receive power when Holy Spirit comes upon you, (Acts 1:8), inspiring disciples’ enthusiasm for sharing the good news using our creativity.
Now the Spirit of Jesus becomes the life-giving Spirit for us and we become the life-giving Spirit for others. So, how can we be a life-giving spirit to others? By sharing the mission of the Church and we all share the mission of the Church. We do not have our own mission but it is the mission of Jesus that we share. St. John Eudes, our founder says “the mission that we do here on earth is the continuation of Jesus’ mission.”
So, let us ask ourselves, what is my mission here on earth? What mission of Jesus Christ that I want to be part of? Maybe you are called to be part of the different ministries of your parish or maybe you are called to become a priest or a nun is a way for you in sharing the mission of the Church.