Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On this ancient feast of Pentecost, fifty days after the resurrection we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. How much we need this Spirit these days. We are like dry flour that without moisture cannot be one loaf of bread or a lump of dough. We who are many cannot become one in Christ without the water that comes down from heaven. We are like parched ground which has no harvest unless it receives moisture. We who were like dried up tree could never have survived and born fruit without abundant rainfall. We need this dew of God, the Holy Spirit, this flowing water which nourishes us especially during this time of isolation.
Since we have an accuser, Satan, we also need a defender, an Advocate as well. What did he accuse you of today, that you are not good enough, that your parents made a mistake, that you should be richer and taller, or whatever. We hear this voice all the time; we need an Advocate to defend us.
The Holy Spirit is fire. A saying of Jesus not recorded in the gospels is: the one who doesn’t want to be burned should not come near the fire. The fire of the Spirit transforms us and makes us new, but it is not an easy process; it hurts. This Spirit is offered to all of us in proportion to our readiness, our openness to receive it. His presence will be fuller for those who truly desire it. If we are not interested he does not force us. It is not too late to ask for this spirit of joy, patience, kindness, self-control, chastity, wisdom, understanding and much more. To the degree you desire it; he will give it to you!!
The icon of Pentecost says much that can help us to understand better this reality. The icon is painted in a way that everyone appears the same size, no one, even Peter, is not greater than the others. The seat in the middle of the semi-circle of apostles is empty. This is to denote the invisible presence of Christ, who has ascended but promises that he will always with us. Each of the apostles is looking in a slightly different direction, with a different expression which symbolizes harmony but not conformity. The Spirit gives us unity but we still posses our uniqueness; we are given different gifts but remain ourselves.
Lastly, the building behind the apostles is not a great tower like in Babel, but a large house that speaks of harmony and peace and a place where everyone belongs. This is the Church!! When we are one with God we can be united among ourselves. We don’t need a wall of glass or plastic between us. The other is our enemy, stay away!! The Spirit lowers these barriers so we can have harmony and peace, and also we can protect ourselves in reasonable ways from this crazy virus. Ask for this Spirit today and Jesus will send him to you!!