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The Language of Jesus

     Last summer I spent two weeks in Poland for World Youth Day. I first spent the first week prior to the main events in Lodz, which is directly north of Krawkow. Then of course the main events took place in Krakow, the "city of saints."I remember being struck by the mere fact that their was three million people gathered from around the world; all physically divided by language and cultures but yet gathered and unified under Christ.  It was the fact that regardless of any language division you could still meet and communicate to your  faith family from around the world. It was amazing to see the living fact that Christ transcended all linguistic and all other barriers that would have seperated these three million people.

Opening Mass in Krakow with the Cardinal of Krakow

    Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. This is the day when Christ fulfilled his promise, which we have heard in the past couple of weekends gospels ,to send forth the advocate to be with us forever. We celebrate and recall our very own receiving of the Holy Spirit firstly at our baptism and again in a special way at our confirmation. With our own receiving of the Holy spirit, we too have become apostles in the faith, leading a life of mission.

    For Luke the coming of the Holy Spirit marks a new era in time- it is a 'landmark' feature in the timeline of our Christian history. Luke makes a notable distinction of life physically with the Lord and the coming of the Holy Spirit. He begins the Acts with the ascension of Christ and then moving into the coming of the Holy Spirit. The ascension is when Jesus tells them to Go out and to make disciples, Pentecost is when Jesus equips his apostles to do so. The rest of the acts of the apostles shows how they fulfilled this mission- this new role.

    We hear in the first reading today from Acts 2: 1-11 of the great day of Pentecost. Jerusalem was crowded with people visiting for the festival of the harvest. People from all over have come and made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, 50 days after Passover to give thanks for the harvest. The large diversity among the crowd becomes for the reader a metaphor for the entire world. Among this immense crowd however, the Apostles begin to speak in foreign languages so that they can all understand and hear them. The people that were divided by their differences of language and culture are now brought together through the power and message of Christ.

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    Pentecost begins an era of unity. It marks an era where unity was brought to a disunited world. The message of the Gospel, was a message that was opened to everyone, never to a select few, but open for everyone. The working of Christ through the apostles allowed this unity to happen and allow a large diversified group understand these twelve simple men. The power of the spirit is a power of unification- it has the power to spread unity and peace throughout the entire world. So powerful is the message that is has the power to unify those who are diversified. That same message is still unifying as I experienced in Poland, and can and will be the unifying agent for the entire world.

    In the Gospel, from John 20: 19-23 proclaimed today, Jesus has just risen from the dead and is appearing to his disciples on the night of his resurrection. As he comes among them, he says " As the father has sent me so I send you" then he breaths on them and says "Receive the Holy Spirit." Jesus is calling the disciples to be to the world what he was. He has just gone through his self-gift the made God known to the world and now it is the disciples turn. It is their turn to imitate the master. But to do so, they need the Spirit, since holiness is impossible without the holy spirit.

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    Pentecost gave birth to the true authentic apostleship. It activated the disciples to go out and spread the unifying news. Pentecost allowed the faith community, which Jesus began, to spread and reach all people and not remain as a single cluster. The Holy spirit guides and assists the disciples to proclaim the language of Jesus. It was now the disciples who were left with the mission to unify all people to Christ and to our Father. It was now their turn to offer themselves in a self giving way to build the  heavenly kingdom on earth.

    As this mission was given to the apostles it is still truly alive and entrusted to us to continue today. We are to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ- the good news. We are to speak the language of Jesus. The language that can unite a diverse world in a special way. It is a real message of love and life triumphing death. It is a message that calls all people to listen and learn, to participate and celebrate, to be happy and gather as a family.

   Pentecost poured forth the Spirit of truth, the Paraclete upon the apostles and upon all future believers who were baptized and confirmed. We are people of the Holy Spirit. St Paul says beautifully in todays second reading ( 1Corinthians 12: 3b-7, 12-13), " For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body- Jews of Greeks, slaves or free- and we were all made to drink of one spirit"  Through our baptism we have received and drink of the spirit which means we too are sent out, like the apostles to unite, to proclaim and to make disciples of all nations.

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