By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC
The reading from the Acts of the Apostles for the feast of Pentecost describes the cowering disciples, huddled together and totally confused about what will happen to the followers of Jesus.
Then the fireworks begin.
- There’s wind, tongues of fire, sounds of many languages, and a lot of milling around, with the disciples eager to get outside to speak to a gathering crowd.
- It becomes a reverse tower of Babel, since the people outside understand the message, even if they don’t comprehend the language about “the mighty acts of God.”
God’s good Spirit comes in many ways; some are quiet and gentle and others are spectacular enough for us to comprehend at once the message about the mighty acts of God.
Pentecost is an event whose meaning is both dramatic and personal. The symbols of wind, fire, and words are images of grace that are meant to charge us with God’s life.
The Spirit impels us and moves us out of the rooms that make us feel comfortable and safe into arenas where we need to take risks to live as a community of believers with God’s mission as our motivation.
The reading from Paul to the Corinthians describes the multitude of gifts from the Spirit. Without ticking them off a list, it is clear that different kinds and forms and workings are given to “each individual . . . for some benefit.
It is the work of each of us personally and as a community to discover which gift is ours to be shared for the welfare of others.
The fire, wind, and words of Pentecost are for more than a day.