Tomorrow is the feast of Pentecost, the last day of the Easter Season. The first reading at Mass tells of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the disciples gathered in the Upper Room. At Jesus’ baptism the Spirit appeared in the form of a dove. Now the Spirit appears as flames of fire, enabling speech in all the languages of the world.
When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.
Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’
The whole world learns of the Good News from the few, inspired by the love and power of God. Something new is brought about through God’s gift and the cooperation of men of good will.
- How does your work, your life, continue the work of witness to the Lord.
- How do you help intensify the value of that witness?
- How might you hamper it?
St Isaac’s Cathedral, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.