by Sr. Ginny Jaskiewicz, C.PP.S., O’Fallon
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
Jews and converts to Judaism,
Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.
In my wildest imagination I would have never thought this would be the Scripture verse I would choose for the focus of this reflection. This verse from Acts of the Apostles speaks of diversity, of gathering together, of unity, of sharing the gift of the Spirit which kindled in the Apostles the fire of God’s love. Each nation heard them speak in their own language about the mighty acts of God.
Today our world needs a new Pentecost, a Pentecost not only for Jews, Cretans or Arabs but a Pentecost for the whole human family. We are Mexicans, Syrians, Bosnians, Ethiopians, Croatians, Guatemalans, Russians, Vietnamese, Kenyans, and on and on. We are one human family who desires the gifts of compassion not intolerance, of welcome not deportation, of equality not supremacy, of love not animosity, of unity not division. “Holy Spirit, heal our wounds, our strength renew. On our dryness pour your dew.”
In today’s political climate it is so easy to point an accusing finger, to say a harsh word about those who do not think or act like I might. I have a right to debase their names because they form judgments with misguided thinking. They are ignorant of others’ needs, hopes and dreams. Perhaps it is at those times I need to call upon the Spirit to kindle in me the fire of God’s love. I need to look within at how I am being intolerant, unloving, self-righteous; how I contribute to an impasse that prevents the truth from being told. “Come Mother/Father of the poor; Bend the stubborn heart and will; Melt the frozen, warm the chill; Guide the steps that go astray.”
Yes, our world cries out for a new, a renewed Pentecost. Whether the Spirit comes as a loud driving wind that animates us with wild courage to proclaim the Gospel of justice and peace or if the Spirit comes peacefully as the breath of Jesus, may we hear and experience the mighty acts of God. “Come, Holy Spirit, come! And from you celestial home shed a ray of light divine.”