BY: Fr. Jude Chijioke




Readings: Acts 2: 1-11; Romans 8, 8-17; John 14.15-16.23-26

“The Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of all that I have told you.” (Jn 14)
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. You have not received a spirit of slaves to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption by means of which we cry: “Abbà, Father!”. The Spirit himself testifies to our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom 8).

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked: “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?” (Acts 2).

Our responsorial psalm, “Lord, send your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth,” is a verse taken from a beautiful canticle in praise of God the creator who sustains everything in his wisdom (Psalm 104 (103). This song of the Holy Spirit resounds in our liturgy today in three voices. Jesus himself begins with the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit in his addresses to his disciples.

From Jesus’ speech we could summarize in two terms a clear profile of the Spirit, Consoler and Teacher. He will be the Paraclete, a Greek term with liturgical translation “Consoler” with two juridical nuances: the Spirit is the defender of the Church and of the faithful immersed in the confusion of time and space, persecuted by the world and the devil. The Spirit sustains and comforts, supports and guides the believing community in its witness of faith and love. The Holy Spirit also has an internal function in the Church and in the heart of a Christian: To teach and remind him everything Christ has taught. Therefore, the Spirit continues the teachings of Christ but above all “reminds” him to the Church. The meaning and significant of the “memorial”, the mystery of our faith.

It is not just a continuous commemoration of a remote event, neither is it like an evocation of Christ’s historical past. The “memorial” is the re-creation in the present of the ancient divine gift, it is its actualization in today, revealing the continuity of the divine action in our midst and its indestructible efficacy. And so, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s words alive, present, fruitful, reveals them in their new and hidden value, transforms them into sprouting seed. Hence, the Spirit is necessary for the word of God to be operative, to spread and animate the Christian community.
The second voice that intones the song of the Spirit is Paul in his theological masterpiece, the Letter to the Romans, and in the chapter 8. He exalts the action of the Holy Spirit in the whole being of the faithful. There are three effects, like three resurrections. The Spirit, who raised Christ from the tomb, also opens the ultimate and perfect life for us. The Spirit also raises the one who is dead through sin; a moral resurrection that transforms one’s inner existence. Finally, the Spirit makes us rise from the slavery to evil and fear to becoming children of God by placing on our lips that invocation of intimacy, Abbà, in Aramaic “dear father, father”.
The Holy Spirit is, therefore, the principle of our radical transformation, he is the one who leads us by the hand from the kingdom of darkness and from the land mined by evil to the kingdom of light and to the “eternal pastures of heaven”. This action radiates in all humanity and the third voice, that of the Evangelical Luke with the story of the great epiphany of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The accent in the narrative falls on the symbol of “languages”: “they began to speak in other languages … Each one heard them speaking in their own language … we hear each one speak our native tongue …”.
Two passages of the Old Testament explain this symbol better. The first is that of the dispersion of humanity in mutual incomprehension, following the arrogance of Babel and its “tower” (Gn 11): now the Spirit gathers all peoples in the one confession of faith, though in the diversity of languages. The second is the scene of Sinai wrapped in divine fire but also interpreted by Jewish tradition as a place of the universal revelation of God. The Spirit of God cancels the Babel of tongues, a sign of sin, and inaugurates the Jerusalem of communion: tongues remain but they are no longer a wall-divider but a sign of wealth in proclaiming the one faith.
The true, glorious gift of the Spirit for all humanity is in the fact that thousands of languages, expressions, cultures, nationalities, through love and faith in Christ, can understand and proclaim the same, the only Word of God.

Fr. Jude Chijioke

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