May 23, 2021 – Pentecost Sunday
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/052321-Day.cfm)
Have you ever experienced a time when you are so caught up with the wonders of the moment that made you say how great it is in your own native language? And then, a foreigner caught up with the same experience as you are having, utter words of how great it is, and also in your own native language?
Like once, my Filipino friend and I were walking sight-seeing in a street of Brussels, Belgium. We caught sight of a beautiful painting being done in the plaza. In our amazement, we both loudly utter words: Ang Ganda, ano. “Ohh, Such a beauty”. And then a Belgian guy also in wonder say: “Oo nga, napakaganda” (Oh Yes, Beautiful). All of us (Pinoy and Belgian) where not only caught up with the beauty of the painting, but also with the beauty of the moment where we can communicate and understand each other our appreciation of the experience.
Perhaps the same experience could be said about a French man who tries to eat Kumtang – a famous Korean beef stew, inside a Korean restaurant with among Koreans, and after tasting it, said: “Masizoyo” (Delicious, Sarap). All understand how great it is, and even a foreigner is able to appreciate it through in the local native language and tongue. In other words, Napa-Koreano sa Sarap. O Napa-Tagalog sa Ganda.
Our shared experiences of wonders and mutual understanding among diverse cultures somehow describes us the experience of the people and the disciples during the day of Pentecost.
Church tradition has it that fifty days after His resurrection (ten day after His ascension), on the day of Pentecost, the disciples received the promised gift of Holy Spirit to the church, and inspired them to speak in different languages to proclaim the Good News of God’s salvation. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, people from different cultures then and until now are able to speak, hear and understand each other’s faith in each other’s own native tongues. Because of such experience, today marks the birthday of the Church – the day of birth, the day when the church becomes alive. The gift of the Holy Spirit is thus very essential in the life of the Church. Like a soul to a body, the church is dead without the movements of spirit, as well as the spirit cannot inspire our life without body, the church. We, the church needs the Holy Spirit to live as well as the Holy Spirit needs our Church to offer us meaning and direction in life. For how does the Holy Spirit works in our lives?
First, the Holy Spirit makes us experience and witness the present moment. Like being caught up with the beauty of a painting or scenery, with the delicious taste of food, with the wonders of the architectures & building, cooking, or working processes, with the intensity of a good book read, a good drama play or movie, and like the risen Lord made Himself known to his disciples, the Holy Spirit inspires us to situate and appreciate ourselves in the present experience. In other words, the Holy Spirit offers us PRESENCE in the here and now.
Second, the Holy Spirit compels us to share our inspiration of the present moment with others. Our inspiration then is not ours to keep but to be shared with others. Like falling and being in love, the Holy Spirit moves us to proclaim and communicate our life and inspiration with others in a way that we can understand each other. In other words, the Holy Spirit provides us the LANGUAGE to articulate and communicate our inspiration of the present moment.
And lastly, the Holy Spirit makes us respond rightly and accordingly to the inspiration-given and shared. Like Jesus giving us the mandate and mission to witness and proclaim our faith to all nations, the Holy Spirit encourages us to lead our lives according to our faith-life inspirations. In other words, the Holy Spirit obliges us a LIFESTYLE – a way of being and becoming human in life.
Like, as Love is one of its gift, the Holy Spirit inspires us to love and be loved, to express humanly such love with an-other and others, as well as to live our lives as loving and beloved person. In the same way with Faithfulness, the Holy Spirit inspires us to have faith and trust in the risen Lord in life, to express, proclaim, and share our faith with others (regardless of culture and race), and to practice and live out such faith in our daily lives. The Holy Spirit thus concretely offers us PRESENCE – LANGUAGE – LIFESTYLE of Love and Faith in life. That is how essential Holy Spirit is into our day to day lives as Christian and as Church.
We can only receive what is being offered. And it will be offered us in our life, if and when we allow and invite the Holy Spirit into our very lives now. We can only share what we already have. We welcome then the Holy Spirit into our lives now so that others may feel its presence, relate with its language, & live its lifestyle in our world today.
As we celebrate the birthday of the Church, we especially once again invite the Holy Spirit into our lives during these pandemic times, as we pray: “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the Earth.” Amen.