If Pentecost celebrates the gifts of the Spirit, it can tempt us to separate the Spirit from the Father and Jesus. Sometimes we think of the Father as the God of the Old Testament, Jesus as center of New Testament, and the Spirit as God of the present age, almost as if the Father and Jesus were enjoying their retirement. Actually, all three persons share one God-life. Instead of three gods debating the fate of the universe, we have one God who is over all and in all.
The Spirit has been active in all ages. The prophets were empowered by the Spirit to proclaim God’s word to Israel. Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit led Jesus into the desert at the beginning of his ministry. (Search the word “spirit” in the four gospels and it appears 75 times.) Jesus was filled with the Spirit as he preached and worked miracles. Then at Pentecost the disciples were filled with the Spirit.
So what about Pentecost?
It is really about using our gifts and sharing the good news. The Spirit gives us the power, courage, and energy to do this. The Spirit’s gifts are meant to be shared. The prophets could not help proclaim God’s message. Jesus shared all he knew with his disciples. The disciples went out to the world to spread the news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. So we, too, are given gifts to be shared.
The greatest gift we have been given is the news of our salvation. This feast reminds us to share that with others. We may do that by example, as when we worship together, forgive others, give to the poor or help someone in need. We can also share that news by teaching our children about God and his love for them, teaching them to pray, or sharing our faith with other adults. As we come to realize how much God has done for us and how close he is to us, we will want to share that with others. Obviously, we can’t make everyone believe in Jesus. But how sad would it be if someone we know was looking for the truth and we neglected to offer it?
© J. S. Paluch Co.