What I Expect From PentecostTomorrow, we Christians celebrate Pentecost. Pentecost is the day of the outpouring of the Spirit of Jesus, of the Father, the ruah ( the Breath of Life ) that sustains and promotes all existence, especially Life. According to tradition, the disciples were gathered in secret on the first Pentecost, for fear of those that opposed the Way, - the Christian belief. They were praying, when suddenly a strong wind shook the place they were at, and moved them to ecstasy. It alighted on every one of the disciple's heads in the form of tongues of fire. Then the disciples, with newly found courage, exited their hiding place and started to proclaim Jesus and His Reign. Jerusalem was full of travelers and pilgrims, from all corners of the earth, and when the disciples spoke in Aramaic, all present heard their speech in their own language : they understood !!!! I guess it must have been like a speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations, where a leader takes the stand and speaks in his tongue, and a host of translators render that speaker's speech to each of the assembly in their own language. This we can understand, with modern technology and its application ; but that this exactly happened in the early part of the 1st Century AD seems beyond us.
And truly, many things are beyond us, especially the deep things of God. But then, what God requires of us is very simple and comprehensible. Somewhere in Scripture it says something like this : ' What does God require of you, oh man ? That you do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him.' That is not hard to fathom, to understand. It is very difficult to carry out. Because life is an obstacle-course. Those that want to remain faithful to God must confront many adversities. We must imitate Jesus' life. And it was not an easy life, with an apparently horrible end...But voila ! what seemed like the end was not...God can't be put down. I guess it's like if you're in the middle of a hurricane like Katrina sometimes, when you think you'll never see calm and peace and the sun again. But they happen again : the peace, the calm. the sun. Many people don't believe in the Resurrection. I firmly do. And it's like St. Paul says : ' If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, then vain are our beliefs, and vain is our worship...' The Resurrection affirms that " you can't keep a good man down." Whoever has had to deal with evil, knows this in his heart. Of course, since life is difficult, many opt for devious ways of living, sincerely making themselves believe there's no God, no judgment, no punishment, no reward. Just do as you see fit. But why is it that, all through our millenia of recorded history, we emulate and praise the good and virtuous ? Is this a massive deception ? I don't think so. When I choose a friend, I'm happy if he's a good guy, because then he can be a friend.
When you're up against the wall, you can choose to remain true, loyal and honest until the end. Even if there were no after life, that's the way i would choose to go. But many, many people choose to imitate the sociopaths, the unfortunates that have no conscience. I once read a very interesting book by a famous psychoanalyst called " In Praise of Blame." To assign blame is a function of the conscience, and it's what makes you pedal back when you've hurt someone ; it's what moves you to say ' I'm sorry.' It's what makes you grow. The wheelers and dealers on Wall Street and elsewhere that caused our recent grievous economic collapse, do in effect, erase their consciences. And i can't for the life of me see what advantage there is for them. For me, a good time is quality time with my family, friends, nature...Doing good elicits health in me. And again, through all recorded history, it's doing good, and disemminating it that forges inspiration and the solid will to go on, in spite of difficulties, which are never far off.
But if none of this makes any sense to you, this small piece you can disregard. You certainly will not be disregarded on judgement day. But then, that's your business. Mine is to proclaim Christ, and Him risen. I find it hard to preach Christ, though ; the world is too cynical, and i am not a fanatic. But that's my expectation and plea for this Pentecost, that I be given power from above to - without brainwashing or otherwise coercing - be able to talk to anyone about Christ, and, like on the first Pentecost, be understood with amazement and acceptance. The spiritual journey is a very personal one, but it's also communal. I want to add sheep to Our Lord's ever-increasing fold. That I beseech from the Father, in Jesus's Holy Name, on this Pentecost. And an overflowing outpouring of Grace on all and sundry. God Bless and Fruitful Pentecost !