TONGUES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Meditation for the Solemnity of Pentecost
(Acts 2:1-11; 1Cor 12:3-7, 12-13; Jn 20:19-23
Pentecost” is derived from the Greek work, Pentēkostē, which means fiftieth. The Israelites celebrated the feast of Pentecost to mark 50 days after the Passover. This 50 days was remarkable because it was then the people of Israel arrived Mount Sinai, where they received the Law of Moses (Ex 34:28). Originally this feast was marked as a ‘Harvest Feat’, which falls 50 days after Passover, and was called Shavu`ot. It was sometimes called ‘Festival of Weeks’, referring to the seven weeks since Passover (Cf. Lev 23:15-16; Ex 23:14-16). At this feast the people offer to God the first fruits of their harvest. In the New Testament, Easter fulfills the Passover of old. And the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples 50 days after the Easter, which we celebrate today. The coming of the Holy Spirit inaugurates the ‘new law’, bearing the ‘First fruits’ of the spirit for those who believe. Thus, the fruits of the Holy Spirit becomes our ‘harvest’. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Gal 5:22).
From the readings of today, let us meditate how Holy Spirit descended the disciples while they were together behind closed doors. The Gospel narrated how Jesus appeared to them in the room where they shut themselves up for fear of the Jews. He said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit…” And on Pentecost day, the Holy came upon them, manifesting His divine presence on them. By resting upon them in tongues of fire, once again the divine has taken His abode on the human! And the Holy Spirit led them out of their self-enclosure to encounter the people with the gospel message.
The Holy Spirit warmed their heart, melted away their fear and led them from the closed doors of fear to the open ground of witnessing for Jesus Christ. The received the first fruits of the spirit, who led them from the closed doors of self-made life, away from the barricades of culture to a deeper appreciation of diversity in unity. “And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” The Holy Spirit leads us forward to ‘hear’ each other’s language, i.e. to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of one another. Many people are suffering, abandoned, marginalized or persecuted because no one ‘hears’ or ‘understands’ their language. We need the Holy Spirit to melt away the barriers that separate us from one another, for the One Spirit speaks our different tongues.
Come Holy Spirit; ‘speak my language’ that I may ‘speak the language’ of others. Amen.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Sunday May 23rd, 2021.
Solemnity of Pentecost