Everything that can be identified as a Christian truth is somehow a derivative of a central truth that we were created to live forever in personal communion with God. The revelation of our purpose was given through the history of Jesus of Nazareth, and the special mission of the Holy Spirit that followed upon his death and resurrection. With the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the believers of the risen Christ, the Body of Christ was born. We have just celebrated that seminal event as the Christian Feast of Pentecost. The eternal Hour of Jesus is truly upon us.
The seven historical moments identified in the New Testament as the outpourings of the Holy Spirt were new to the world, only because they followed the passover, death and resurrection of Jesus. Incomings of the Spirit that preceded these outpourings of the first Christian Pentecost are countless, occurring throughout salvation history, and happening to this day. It was only after Jesus was established as Lord and Savior through his death and resurrection, that the work of the Holy Spirit became more than a personal intervention among so many others. What happened on that particular, first Pentecost was a new beginning. The Church was born as the Body of Christ, energized and inspired to bring Jesus into the world.
"It was only after Jesus was established as Lord and Savior through his death and resurrection, that the work of the Holy Spirit became more than a personal intervention among so many others."
Henceforth the Spirit is poured out by the Father, in the Spirit of Jesus, with the divine power that raised Jesus from the dead. Now God is offered and given, received and recognized as the gift of the risen Christ. For those who desire and accept this outpouring, great spiritual potential and gifts are given. The hidden, invisible, supernatural gifts of the Spirit change our lives and guide us to our goal, communion with God forever: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Reverence, and Wonder and Awe of the Lord (Is 11: 2-3).
Today we join the men and women hidden in the upper room, where “with one heart all those joined constantly in prayer,” including Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers (Acts 1:13-14). The men present in that room had been cowardly and deserted Jesus in his time of need. Indeed, their bond of discipleship had not been that strong in the three years they walked with him prior to his death. In the months since his passing, they had been touched by his appearances where he waited to search them out. At a moment of fragile trust, Jesus announced his ascension to the Father, promising his return in even greater power. They were certainly aware of the fact that they were poor, powerless, and undeserving. Then came Pentecost!
" For those who desire and accept this outpouring, great spiritual potential and gifts are given."
With them, we ask, “How can this come about?” The answer is clear: In God all things are possible! Pentecost did not just happen because one fine day a collection of individuals decided to establish another community. That day Jesus and the Father returned in the Holy Spirit, in force and power. Each person was gathered, touched and brought into communion with God. That little community became the Body of Christ. The dwelling of God on earth, Emmanuel, God With Us, Jesus himself, was transformed into a new community of faith, the Body of Christ on earth, the Church. The Holy Spirit of God, Father and Son, is alive in force and power and reaches out to each of us today. As we wake up to our potential to live forever in communion with God, that our lives be changed, let us pray:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them, the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth.
Pentecost is upon us! Alleluia!
+Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg
Bishop of Pueblo
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