Life & Soul Life and Soul

What it means to live in the Spirit of the Risen Lord

Pentecost (1732), by Jean II Restout

Pentecost Sunday
Acts 2: 1-11; 1 Cor 12:3-7 & 12-13; Jn 20:19-23 (Year C)

“When Pentecost day came round, the Apostles had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of flame; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them.”

The New Testament account of Pentecost rightly stresses the signs and wonders that accompanied the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. A yet greater wonder was to be worked in the hearts of the Apostles who, in the strength of that same Holy Spirit, began to speak. No less wonderful was the transformation worked in the hearts of those who listened.

Throughout the Old Testament, Jerusalem had always been described as the meeting point of the nations. Here division and strife would come to an end. Here the Lord would remove the mourning veil covering his peoples. Here the Lord would destroy death for ever, wiping away the tears from every cheek.

Pentecost, through the gift of the Spirit, inaugurated the fulfilment of this promise. Timid Apostles began to speak with a single voice in the name of their Risen Lord. The assembled peoples, despite cultural and linguistic diversity, heard, understood and were made one in the power of the same Spirit.

The Spirit of the Risen Lord is, above all else, a Spirit of understanding. Sin divides, fostering the misunderstanding and hostility that drives us apart. Let us pray that the Spirit of understanding, so clearly demonstrated at Pentecost, might bring healing to the wounds of our divided world. To understand Christ as our Risen Lord is the beginning of that reconciliation described by Paul: “In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Geeks, slaves as well as citizens, and this one Spirit was given to us all to drink.”

The Spirit alone enables our communion with Christ our Risen Lord. In him alone our divided and fearful hearts find rest. As it was for the first disciples, so it is with us. “On the evening the first day of the week, the doors were closed where the disciples were for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’ and showed them his hands and his side.”

Through and in the Spirit of the Risen Lord, may we bring healing, understanding and peace to a divided World. “ ‘As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’ After saying this he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit.”

May we live in the Spirit of the Lord, a spirit of peace, forgiveness and understanding.