Anne Lastman

In the morning I went to Mass to celebrate the feast of Pentecost at my parish which is the Cathedral in Perth.  I looked around in awe and joy at the red and white flowers everywhere, red vestments, candles and beauty of the main altar.  The great simplicity and serenity one feels just being there.  The organist, and the cantor and priest (an older priest) who gave a beautiful homily on the first Pentecost.  A priest who obviously loved his charism and who gave the homily with great beauty. He almost shone as he spoke about this feast and its work in the beginnings of the Church. The birth of the church left by Jesus in the care of “Peter.”

The readings so perfect.

This was interesting because during the week I met with a friend for coffee and we were talking about the Easter season and the beauty and closeness and visible and our participation in our Lord’s work of redemption culminating with the Ascension back to his father and his promise to send another who would remain always with us , and with this feast of Pentecost, promise is  fulfilled, the promise to continue feeding us and dining with us and remaining with us till the end of time.

The Ascension (before Pentecost) is for me a sad time and for those who had loved him in his earthly body and watched him live as a human being, teach, walk everywhere, even watched as he worked miracles then suffer and died a violent death, a first separation, culminating in his resurrection and renewed, this then followed by another separation by leaving them to return to the place he’d come from, His Fathers house. 

As a mother, I can imagine the pain of his mother as she saw him leave through what appeared like a cloud and slowly, he left them behind and from their sight.  For his mother Mary, perhaps it was the final sword which would pierce er heart (Lk 2:35) as she knew she would not see him again as her earthly son. Other writers and theologians posit that she would have been happy preparing for his going back to heaven.  I don’t think so.  They were both fully human with human emotions, human love, and human attachments. And there would have been sadness of leaving a loved mother behind.

However, a short time later her son’s promise was fulfilled when that fire from heaven came and she knew it was sent by him and from him and for a while she felt close to him again.  The one he promised he would send came (The Holy Spirit) and in a manner visible (tongues of fire) just as he was visible, so she knew it was Him keeping his promise.  This guest of our souls would explain even to her his whole eternal filial story and she would understand not only his story but her role in the story.

Unlike her ancestor Eve she remained faithful and was mother of such a son until the end.

Further to this and following the Ascension Pentecost arrived which has deeply hidden within its story and event a return of Yahweh God’s relationship with his people.  The relationship which was fractured at the time of the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9) when the people who until then spoke in one tongue became so prideful and arrogant that Yahweh God (as punishment) confounded them and confused their language so that they could no longer communicate with one another and they could no longer understand each other and so began the first diaspora to the ends of the world, each taking with them their different language. 

Pentecost and the gift of the spirit is a return to the understanding of one another beginning in Jerusalem with the kerygma “the good news” to be spoken throughout their journeys to new lands in their own language, unlike the confusion after Babel. So too after Pentecost the people heard and understood in their own language and were able to go away and speak with their own people and they could be understood and not be confused. The spirit opened the ears ad again allowed them to hear clearly.

Pentecost (and the descent of the Holy Spirit is the reversal of the curse of Babel from confusion and not understanding into hearing and understanding and believing.  How marvellous is this gift of human being hearing the good news, the liturgy, the scriptures in one’s own language and being able to understand what they are hearing and joining the community in the celebration of the liturgies praising God.

Even those in the furthest ends of the world were given the gift of speech and understanding. From Jerusalem to the Greeks, Parthians, Medes, Elamites, English, German, Italian, French, Russian, Ukraine, Egyptian, African, Cretans, Arabs and all other languages under the sun.  Each being able to understand the word of God, the Liturgies, in their own language. A marvel of God (Acts 2:1-13).  

Every nation on earth hears, understands in their own language and understands and participates in the holiness of sacraments and is present and understands and does not simply repeat learned words but in spirit is immersed in the sacred mysteries, the cause of our salvation.

Thank you, Lord, for sending us the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth as it was meant to be from all time.

Pentecost, the Spirit descending in the form of tongues of fire is a manifestation of the Word which instructs and helps to recall and explain to those it touches, the mission of God’s work through his son Jesus and the continuation of this work through those He chooses and with the help of the third person of the Trinity.  The Holy Spirit, now permanently present on this earth, the place where Jesus was born, lived and walked is given not only through the sacraments but there is an order to the sacraments starting with Baptism as the first encounter which leads to all the other sacraments and finally being able to call upon Him whenever we have a need. “The Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him for it” (Lk 11:13)

Pentecost a celebration of hearing and understanding and sharing.

Pentecost of a relationship broken and now whole again.

Pentecost door opened for the guest of our soul.