"The Holy Spirit is alive and well and making mischief..."
- Sr. Simone Campbell
Change is always threatening. The human spirit is really torn in two directions: we have a deep hunger for stability and security, but we are also aware of a profound thirst for knowledge, for growth and improvement, for expanding horizons and fulfilling innate potentials. We have to break out of ourselves if we really want to live.
Our God enters the human condition to encounter us personally, and to enable us to encounter others. Pentecost is a "state of mind"; a state of being - it is the "soul" of Christianity. It is the unending miracle of God's love poured out in the hearts of believers - the abiding power-source of Gospel living.
However, it is not just a personal gift to the faith-filled. It is a gift to all of creation. It is the fulfillment of God's promise to "Change the face of the Earth."
Jesus breathed new life into his disciples. First, by his greeting, “Peace be with you” - which were reconciling words to them after they failed him so miserably during the Passion and Crucifixion. Then he bids them peace again and with that, he began a new creation in the Spirit. The disciples are commissioned to take this reconciling peace and to proclaim it to the world. But that’s not the end of the story. Jesus has given us a new Spirit. We are also re-created with the breath of life by which Jesus sends us out to bring his Spirit into the world. That is who we are.
We cannot and must not be passive. We must not resist change, but welcome it, foster it. Above all, we must not fear the movements of the Spirit, but embrace them with trust, with generosity and with courage.
This message of Jesus is intended for all people, in all times and places. The language of Jesus is the language of the spirit, one that transcends nationalities and all other divisive elements. We must learn the language of the Spirit. Change and diversity are integral elements of the vocabulary of the Spirit.
Understanding this, we should realize how the church of Christ is enriched by the great variety of cultures and thought that come to celebrate unity of heart and mind in the spirit of Pentecost. Diversity is not to be an obstacle or a threat to us, but rather a beginning point towards unity. This oneness in faith and love is the strongest evidence that Jesus and His spirit are in fact working among us to bring all people together in the peace and justice of God's kingdom.
St. Paul tells: "As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit." (1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13) Who we are and what we are is less important than what we are called to do. Jesus has breathed His Spirit into each of us and we each are part of the community of God's people… a community that is ever-changing, ever-diverse and ever-growing.
John XXIII said that "we are not here to guard a museum, but to cultivate a flourishing garden of life." The Holy Spirit is the gardener who has planted the seeds. It is up to us to bring the harvest of that garden to fruition.