Wind, Fire and Breath… 04Jun2017

It’s wondrous to see and hear the Holy Spirit active in Salvation History in so many forms. We see his gentility hovering over Jesus at His Baptism in the form of a dove. His active and all-encompassing character is present at the dawn of creation when the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters (Gen. 1:1). We hear of His power and mightiness at the crossing of the Red Sea when He cast through the column of the fiery cloud upon the Egyptian force a glance that threw it into a panic (Ex. 13:24).

Now, on Pentecost Sunday, He comes as a noise like a strong driving wind announcing His presence to all those gathered in the upper room while outside gathering a large group of devout Jews from every nation for the creation of a new Church. He shows Himself as tongues of fire enflaming the Apostles with His missionary Spirit and is contrasted with the gentle gift of Peace that is breathed on them by Jesus on the day of His resurrection.

Last week I explained the centrifugal force described by Jesus in His apostolic command to make disciples of all nations… to the ends of the earth. Notice who is in the crowd gathered by the Holy Spirit: 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, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs. The Holy Spirit not only gathers people from all nations but also gives the Apostles the gift of speaking in all their native languages. Happy Birthday, Holy Mother Church!

St. Basil describes the Holy Spirit in these words: Like the sunshine, which permeates all the atmosphere, spreading over land and sea, and yet is enjoyed by each person as though it were for him alone, so the Spirit pours forth His grace in full measure, sufficient for all, and yet is present as though exclusively to everyone who can receive Him. To all creatures that share in Him, He gives a delight limited only by their own nature, not by His ability to give.

Deacon Richard


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