THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS COME
(A biblical refection on the PENTECOST SUNDAY, 24 May 2015)
First Reading: Acts 2:1-11
Psalms: Psalm 104:1,24,29-34; Second Reading: Galatians 5:16-25; Gospel Reading: John 15:26-27; 16:12-15
|They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. John 17:16-17, NIV |
Dear God and Father of us all, sanctify us in your truth. Your Word is truth. We come before your presence and ask you to touch us with your Spirit, to shape our lives in the truth and in the joy of your name. Touch us with your Spirit, that we may carry out our tasks in your service. May your face shine on us and on all needy people who turn to you. May your power be given ever more fully, and may your cause become great in the world until at last it brings new life to all nations. Amen.
|How often we children have been unwilling: unwilling to listen to each other, unwilling to hear words we do not expect. But on that first Pentecost the Holy Spirit truly called the people together in understanding and forgiveness and utter, wondrous joy. The early Christians, then, were known by how they loved one another. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people could say that of us again? Not an exclusive love, shutting out the rest of the world, but love so powerful, so brilliant, so aflame that it lights the entire planet – nay, the entire universe!|
Source: Episcopal Life
The Scripture Text
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” (Acts 2:1-11 RSV)
Pentecost is perhaps the Church’s most exciting feast day of the year, for the Holy Spirit animates and makes real everything we believe. How wonderful are the fulfilments that took place on that day!
With the coming of the Holy Spirit, everything changes. We are refreshed and filled with love. Dwelling in us, The Spirit bears witness to our hearts that we are children of God (Romans 8:15-16). The Spirit of God prays in us (Romans 8:26). He guides us in the truth (John 14:26). He empowers us to serve the Lord in love (Romans 7:6). He transforms us, developing His wonderful fruits in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).
This feast if also connected to Jewish worship in the Old Testament. For ancient Israel, Pentecost – fifty days after Passover – was a feast during which the whole community thanked God for the first fruits of the early harvest (Deuteronomy 16:9-12). Overtime, it came to be observed also as a feast of thanksgiving for the Torah, the Law received by Moses on Mount Sinai.
Jesus has fulfilled the words of the Old Testament. He alone was able to please God. Now, the Holy Spirit has come. He has inaugurated the harvest of all God’s people. Now, the covenant, written so long ago on tablets of stone, can be written deep in our hearts. We have a wonderful hope! All that is impossible for us according to our natural ability is made possible by the Holy Spirit’s power and grace.
Prayer: 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, who lives and reign with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jakarta, 22 May 2015
A Christian Pilgrim