This weekend is Saturday the 30 and Sunday the 31 May, Pentecost Sunday.
The community of Taizé sing Tui amoris ignem. ‘Holy Spirit, come to us.Kindle in us the fire of your love.’
In our reading this weekend from the Acts of the Apostles, we join a group of dispirited followers of Jesus locked down in an upper room. There is more perspiration than inspiration in the room! The disciples are afraid they will suffer the same fate as their master. They listen and pray that no one will discover their hiding place, that the world will leave them safe in their isolation.
Yet the Holy Spirit is not stopped by locked doors or locked hearts. The Spirit comes, not like a spring breeze passing gently through a room; it is more like a hurricane, flattening all the protective barriers against its force. And the Spirit takes this group of dispirited followers and transforms them. As you listen to the reading, try to place yourself in the scene.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ Acts 2:1-11
The Spirit empowers the disciples to leave their isolation. They go out to the marketplace and proclaim to all how they have been changed by the power of the Spirit. The crowd’s reaction is one of joy. They realise the apostles are speaking their language. Before there was misunderstanding and division. Now the apostles speak a language that people can understand. It is the language of the Spirit.
The Spirit that fired the apostles is the same Spirit which fires and enthuses us. Am I aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence in me? What prevents the Holy Spirit from bearing fruit in my life? Forgiveness, love and understanding is the language of the Spirit, a language that everyone understands and needs to hear. It is the language we are invited to speak and the promise is that when we speak it people will recognise it as their own language.
As you listen to the reading again, what is your reaction?
Let my prayer today be: “Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth.”
Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth.