“Without Pentecost the Christ-event — the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus — remains imprisoned in history as something to remember, think about and reflect on. The Spirit of Jesus comes to dwell within us, so that we can become living Christs here and now.” ~ Henri Nouwen
The Christ-event, as Nouwen phrases it, is not and should not be merely an historical moment. The Christ-event should be deeply personal to each and every one of us. Nouwen speaks about Pentecost as that moment when we were empowered by God through the Holy Spirit to venture out into the world in order to proclaim the Good News and bring others into the Church.
Robert Baer has a wonderful way of speaking about God’s relationship with us and about Pentecost. He states, “Bethlehem was God with us, Calvary was God for us, and Pentecost is God in us.” Isn’t it awesome that our God was so willing to get “up close and personal” with us? He became one of us, tiny and frail, in the mystery of the Incarnation. He died for us on Calvary. He poured His Spirit into us at Pentecost.
That Spirit animates us. It emboldens us. It gives us grace upon grace to accomplish God’s will. In doing so, we continue the mission of Jesus just as He commissioned us to do at His Ascension to the Father. But the Holy Spirit is more than just a collection of gifts. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. The Spirit is God.
When the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us, Nouwen tells us, we become living Christs. We bring Christ into the world by our word, by our example, and by our very presence. Such a wonderful and bold gift from our God. Perhaps that is why they call Pentecost the “Birthday of the Church.”
At Pentecost, the Apostles were given the grace and courage that they needed to go into the world. They spoke with conviction and taught with authority. They introduced people to Jesus and left it up to those who heard their message to respond accordingly.
Let us do our best to be open to the many possibilities of the Holy Spirit in our own lives. Let us live our Christian lives with the same conviction as the Apostles. It can be done because it is the same Holy Spirit who comes to us as came to Mary and the Apostles in the Upper Room.
FAITH ACTION: Say yes to God’s will and accept the gift of the Holy Spirit in your own life that you may be Christ’s witness in our world.