A New Pentecost

It’s pretty easy to be amazed at the account we hear from the first reading on this feast. We can easily associate, based on this account, signs, miracles, even what we might call “strange occurrences,” with the arrival of the Holy Spirit.

And why wouldn’t we? Jesus foretells us of the things that would come to pass, from well before his passion and death, which he also foretold to the Apostles, up until the moment he ascended. Such prophecies shouldn’t be so surprising to us, as they clearly were to the twelve of Jesus’ closest friends and followers.

Surely, he gave us advanced notice that, even in our day, we would see things the world cannot explain (“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” Matthew 28:20). Ought we to be so skeptical that such things are yet happening today? Now, certainly there is a difference between unexplained and unexplainable events, and that difference shouldn’t scare us or even make us doubtful. Indeed, “God has visited his people (Luke 7:16).”

What, then, shall we make of our own slowness to believe in the incredible? More to the point, what do we have to lose, placing our trust and hope in God?

The Apostles faced death for their faith. Bravely hoping in God’s promises, they carried out and bore witness to the power of God. In the name of Jesus, they cured the sick, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead and, as we hear today, spoke boldly to the world of the “kerygma” — the fact that “this Jesus, whom you crucified, has been raised (Acts of the Apostles 2:36).” Not only this, but they did so, shockingly, in such a way that the crowd of people from diverse places and distinct languages heard and understood what this band (according to Acts of the Apostles 2:15, there were 120, including the Twelve and Mary, in the upper room) was shouting about in their midst.

As a result of what happened that day amongst the crowd, thousands chose to put their faith in Christ.

Let us entertain, then, the fact that that same Spirit of God is present today and has not and will not leave the Earth. Place yourself in the account we have heard, not so much that you are there, but consider that that moment is now. What would it mean if God sent a new Pentecost today?

I know that, in my own life, I have seen miracles. I have seen God moving amongst the crowd. I have heard men and women laugh, through weeping, of how good God had been to them, of the sin they left behind and of the irreplaceable love they found in him. The zeal of the Apostles is not for fanatics, but for those who have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.

Truthfully, the holiest people I know wanted from God only that he would come, and that he would never leave them again. These people became evangelizers. They became men and women who were happy to share the Good News with others. They were sent, and by simply bearing witness to what they had seen of God in their own lives, others have come to believe for themselves.

All of this is to say nothing more than this: God holds in reality a plan for your life, and in the Holy Spirit, he is eager to live out that plan in you.

The time of Pentecost is now fulfilled, and just as it was when the earliest Christians gathered, may this be our turn in the upper room. May we receive for ourselves those tongues as of fire.

David Dunst
Music Director



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