THE EMERGENCE IN THE WORLD OF A SPIRITED PEOPLE
Pentecost is a Jewish feast transformed by St Luke’s description of the events that occurred on the feast after the crucifixion of Jesus. The Jewish festival, Shavu’ot or Feast of Weeks, celebrates the giving of the Torah, the Law, to the people on Mount Sinai. The feast is celebrated 49 days (a week of weeks, hence the name) after Passover. From the Jewish perspective there is no similarity between the feast and the Christian Pentecost.
As Luke tells the story, Jesus dies and is buried. He rises recognisable but transformed. For 40 days he continues the formation of his friends begun during his time of ministry. He then withdraws from their sight. This is not an act of desertion of them but a necessary absence so they are in receptive mode for the Spirit which will come and dwell in them, giving them the wherewithal to complete his work on earth.
These born again Jews (the first disciples) who celebrated on their Pentecost the gift of the Law that freed them from idolatry and immorality, experienced the reception of a new gift from God that set them free in a remarkably new way. Cooperating with that Spirit people who came in contact with them get more than they bargained for. Thanks to the indwelling spirit each friend of Jesus becomes a meeting place with Jesus himself, not just the disciple friend.
The biblical images associated with the coming of the Spirit are the tongues of fire, the dove, the sound of a mighty wind and a gentle out breath. Those who welcome the spirit are transformed and begin proclaiming to all that Jesus is the answer to all the questions that rise within us, as we move from day to day, event to event in life’s journey.
The Spirit Jesus promised and then sent does not take up residence in us in the way with the world. Spirits both holy and unholy have to be allowed in. Neither forces entry like a home invasion. Once welcomed the recipients are changed for good or for ill.
At mass today we pray a prayer together after the second reading. It is called a sequence because it follows the reading. Be attentive to the words as you pray and see what transformation will occur as you welcome the Spirit.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Jun 5, 2015||Pentecost Sunday 24.05.2015||Listen||Download|