Acts of the Apostles 2: 1-11; I Cor. 12:3b-7, 12-13; John 20: 19-23.
Pentecost Sunday is here and what a memorable Easter Season we have had! Churches closed, non-stop media bombardment about the virus and ‘stay at home’/house arrest orders throughout the United States. What can an event in Jerusalem nearly two thousand years ago tell us today?
Today we celebrate the beginnings of the Church, not so much the institutional hierarchical structures but Church as a body of believers who compose the Body of Christ today (not that there is no contradiction between hierarchy and people as both compose the Body of Christ). And this beginning was most unpredictable. Rather than a Church born of strategic thinkers and ‘organization men’ we see a motley crew, gathered from throughout the known world, who were cowering in fear until the Holy Spirit empowers them. Thus, the Church was born not of far-thinking leaders but God motivating fearful cowering men and women. It would be these people who courageously would eventually spread the Gospel in speech and action.
This Pentecost event highlights the Gospel of John’s recounting of one of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. Jesus’ greeting was simply ‘peace’ as an answer to the fears of the apostles.
What can this event tell us today? Jesus throughout His ministry is constantly reminding us to FEAR NOT- to trust God and live boldly. This is the same message that the Holy Spirit imparted to the huddled crowd of believers on Pentecost. Jesus knew, as we do also but perhaps seldom reflect upon, that fear is destructive; it freezes up our mind and heart, abandoning our humanity and open to tyranny. Fear can move us to act sinfully or accept evil as a ‘necessary evil’. Jesus tells us not to fear.
Today we are bombarded by messages of fear and no doubt some things in life are scary but the key question in life is not whether we die (we all will) but whether we ever really live. Fear keeps us from life. Act boldly, be free, and trust in Christ.
Please help the doctors of the MDA who help God’s poor and those who are sick.