22nd May 2021
How happy to be able to participate in this global Pentecost vigil!
The Lord has prepared this opportunity to rejoice in the Holy Spirit, in his presence, and in this joy of Pentecost.
When Peter had to explain what was happening at that transcendental moment for the history of the Church, he chose the text of Joel that says:
And in the last days, says God, I will send my spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will be prophets, your old men will have dreams, your young men will see visions.
He was trying to explain what God had just done by pouring out the Holy Spirit, and he does it using this promise of Joel, that days of dreams, of visions, of truly extraordinary events would come and the Spirit would be poured out on all flesh. It is very interesting that what those early Christians took the most, what they held the most, what most excited them were the portentous events, the prophecies, the miracles, the healings, the deliverances.
Somehow this exuberance of the Spirit’s presence marked that time. But something had been relegated, something that the prophecy included from the beginning, that the Spirit was to be poured out on all flesh. This idea of the Spirit over all flesh took a long time to be accepted by the Church. Perhaps was accepted verbally, mentally, but in practice they took more and more control of the work of the Spirit and it became increasingly difficult to understand that the Spirit had been poured out on all flesh.
The Church had to meet, as it appears in Acts chapter 15, in that first Council, to see what to do with those who had received the Spirit outside the realm of Israel. We see the same in Paul’s letters. But we also see it today.
In the 70’s the Spirit was once again present with full force on a global level and we lived the manifestations of the Spirit with songs, with dances, with prophecies and with speaking in tongues. That broke in at that moment and marked our lives. In the middle of a structured church, in molds, with old paradigms, the Holy Spirit broke in, broke everything and brought us joy, happiness, celebration.
But, we have forgotten that the Spirit was going to be poured out on all flesh. Not about all charismatic flesh. Above all flesh.
I believe this is the Pentecost challenge for our time. I believe that today more than speaking in tongues, more than singing, more than prophesying, and of course that all of this has its value and we hope that it continues in force, more than all this, we have to recover the Spirit of Pentecost on all flesh, which means the open arms of God that breaks down all barriers of discrimination and separation. He comes to heal every rift, every division.
In this time that we live divided cultures, full of barriers: theological barriers, ecclesiastical barriers, social barriers, cultural barriers. At this time the most powerful manifestation of Pentecost should be a Spirit that is poured out on all flesh. Those of us who want to live Pentecost today should be instruments of God’s peace, of reconciliation, of the call to work together and to live together.
We cannot, in the name of faith, sow discord, divisions, deepen cracks. This is not the time. This is the time of a new Pentecost. In this new Pentecost the manifestation of the Spirit will be a Spirit that leads us to accept the other, to understand the other, to open our minds and hearts and open our arms. May God grant us to live this Pentecost with this understanding. The Spirit continues to be poured out on all flesh and we want to see this happen at this time.
God bless you. Be an instrument of peace and reconciliation.