Sunday, May 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to the Church

Pentecost the feast we celebrate today is the birthday of the Church. Gathered in the Upper Room with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the Eleven Apostles prayed. They were anticipating help from on high, but they had no clue what form it would take. Jesus had told them, "You will receive power from on high." Their prayers were answered with a "powerful, driving wind heard throughout the house", and the Spirit came to them in the form of tongues of fire.
Then Peter, who had betrayed Jesus, and had slunk away from him when Jesus was accused, turned into a convinced and convincing preacher.
The Apostles understood people from many different nations.
As Pope Benedict said in 1983, the tower of Babel divided people. The Spirit, Divine Love, unites us in the love of Jesus crucified and risen for us.
Like the first followers of Jesus, these can be very scary times for us too. The sins of members of the church, even clergy and religious, drive us to that same Upper Room. There we turn to prayer and ask, together with Mary, the first disciple and our teacher, that God will pour his Spirit on us today.
Happy Feast of Pentecost. May the Holy Spirit renew in me and in each of you a new Pentecost today.

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