Pentecost, May 27, 2007

Acts 2: 1 - 11

1 Corinthians 12: 3b - 7, 12 - 13

John 20: 19 - 23

Receive the Gift of God

Pentecost is inseparable from the Ascension. Together, the two events represent the fulfillment both of Moses' going up to Sinai where he received the words of life (Ex 19: 20) and of his descent to the people to whom he transmitted the ten words (Ex 19: 25). Jesus going up to Heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit are two facets of the same reality.

In his farewell discourse to the disciples, Jesus himself links fidelity to his words or commandments and the gift of the Spirit. Not that the gift is conditioned by our human conduct, but it needs to be welcomed and received. To love and to be faithful to the commandments means welcoming the promise of a divine presence: the Spirit will come to dwell among the disciples, (vv. 15-16) and the Father will come with Jesus into the believers heart (v. 23). To love and be faithful to the word, this is nothing less than making place in ourselves for God!

Once received, the Spirit strengthens our fidelity. In the Gospel of John, the Spirit plays a role similar to that of the charismatic figures who come to prolong the mission of an important person in the Old Testament, such as Joshua for Moses and Elisha for Elijah. The Spirit is the witness of Jesus, the interpreter of Jesus message, the one who continues to teach and guide the disciples. The Spirit is like another Jesus; called by Jesus another defender and another Paraclete. Jesus was the first and the Spirit plays a role among the disciples very close to that of Jesus. The Spirit is the interior presence that transforms. Acting in the disciples and through them, the Spirit makes them witnesses of Christ for the world.

Let us pray for one another, asking for the grace to welcome humbly the gift of God so that we are not left to our own weakness and inconsistencies but can draw from the Presence within the strength to love and to remain faithful, to live freely for the love of God and others.

-- Sophie Ramond, R.A.