Pentecost: Letting the Spirit Speak
“Father of Light, from whom every good gift comes, send your Spirit into our lives with the power of a mighty wind, and by the flame of your wisdom open the horizons of our minds. Loosen our tongues to sing your praise in words beyond the power of speech, for without your Spirit man could never raise his voice in words of peace or announce the truth that Jesus is Lord.” (Alternate Opening Prayer for Pentecost)
When he first met the Lord, calling to him from the burning bush, Moses questioned the Mystical Voice. The voice told Moses to confront Pharaoh and to lead the people out of Egypt. Moses wondered how he could do this. God gave Moses a bit of a preview of what would follow before Pharaoh. He told Moses to throw down his staff. Staff became a snake. Then God told Moses to pick it up the snake by its tail. The staff was restored. When Moses questioned his ability to speak to Pharaoh, God told him that he would put the words in his mouth. Moses continued to spar with God. He said that he was not a person who could speak to crowds. How was he to convince the Hebrew people to listen to him and follow him our of Egypt? The Lord told Moses that he, God, would use Moses’ brother Aaron to address the people. And so, empowered by God, Moses and Aaron spoke, and the people heard the Word of God.
In the year that King Ussiah died, about five hundred years after Moses, a man named Isaiah had a vision. He saw God, sitting on the throne of heaven. The glory of God filled the throne room. The room was also full of the smoke from the incense set before the throne. Above the throne were the Seraphim, angels with six wings. Two wings covered their face,two covered their feet and with the other two wings they flew. The angels cried out, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and Earth are filled with his glory.” And Isaiah called out, “Woe is me, I am lost. I am a man of unclean lips. I dwell among people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.” What he was saying is that he did not deserve to be before God. God’s glory was more than Isaiah’s humanity could tolerate. The fire of God’s love would burn Him up. But then, one of the Seraphim angels took a coal from the incense and touched Isaiah”s mouth. The angel said to him, “Your guilt is taken away, your sins are forgiven.” Then Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord call out, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” And Isaiah said, “Here I am Lord, send me.” And Isaiah went on to proclaim God’s will, His presence, and the wonders God had in store for mankind: A virgin would have a child called Emmanuel. A Suffering Servant would take upon himself the sins of the people. He would die and rise again. Isaiah spoke, and the people heard God.
At least four of them were fishermen. One had been a tax collector. One a political zealot. They were simple, everyday men. They were not intellectuals. They were not orators. And they lived in a world that valued rhetoric, the ability to make a persuasive speech. How were they going to fulfill the Lord’s command to “go out and make disciples of Jesus in all nations.”? God took gave them the power, the ability to transform the world.
They gathered again in that Upper Room fifty days after Easter, Pente--Fifty--cost. They weren’t there to grieve over the One who had died and risen and ascended. They were there to wait. He told them to wait. Then under the signs of wind and tongues of fire, His Spirit, the Spirit of the Father that was present in His Own Being, now filled their being. The Father was above. The Son had gone to Him. But the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the animating force of the Father and Son was now the Spirit of the followers of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit was now their life principle. United with Jesus, they would form the words, but the Holy Spirit would speak. And the thousands who heard them that day, did not need translators. The apostles formed the words, but the Holy Spirit spoke to the people. The curse of the Tower of Babel was reversed. The world would be united through the language of the Spirit.
And you and I wonder, rightly so, how it is that we can lead others to Christ. How can we train our children, our Teens, our grandchildren, to treasure the Lord? What should we say? What should we do? How can we convince our neighbors, our work companions, other people at school or at work, or in our very families, how can we convince them that there is nothing greater in life than to serve Jesus Christ? And the Lord says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” If we stay united to God, God will work His wonders through us.
And outside, outside the Upper Room where the disciples gathered, outside the walls of the Church where we gather, outside there are hundreds, thousands, millions of people longing for an experience of God, longing for the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit.
We are sent by the Lord, to go outside, out to the people made in the image and likeness of God. We are called to be who we are, committed Christians, dedicated Catholics, and then to simply let His Spirit, the Holy Spirit of the Father and Son, work the wonders of God in the hearts of His people.
For today, and every day is Pentecost.