The Spirit leads to unity and oneness

Pentecost, as we know from the Jewish Religion, was a celebration of God’s interaction with God’s people through the Law. As we hear it now, Pentecost is a celebration of God’s interaction with God’s people through the Holy Spirit. Pentecost has to do with salvation history. It’s not just another date on the calendar, it’s part of God’s saving action in the world.

At the start of Acts, the story of the church, the disciples have gone to another upstairs room, this time to figure out “what’s next.” They have to nominate someone to replace Judas as a disciple and then figure out where to go from there. They didn’t rush out and away on their own; these disciples took some time to regroup and to figure out what comes next… to wait and to pray. It seems like they’re saying, “God, the next move is up to you.” The gathered disciples, in praying and waiting, seem to realize that only God can give them what they need.

To their surprise God has already shown them the way. They only have to recall how long and intensive Jesus prayed last week for the unity and oneness of the disciples “that they may be one.” And so, as it is written, “they were all in one place together.” “In one place together” here means one in heart and mind. Because they were of one mind, when the Holy Spirit came upon them, they also spoke from one mind and heart, and everybody, from different lands, languages and cultures could understand them clearly. When they spoke in tongues, it brought oneness, faith and understanding in the hearts of people. We see here the fruit of the Holy Spirit, namely, unity which leads to understanding among different people in the family, in marriage, in school, in business, in the workplace and in the community.

The letter to the Galatians gives a list of things which bring disunity, confusion and misunderstanding in the family and community, namely: envy, rivalry, immorality, unfaithfulness, jealousy, hatred, egoism etc. These come from the devil. The word devil is from the Greek word, diabolos which means an accuser or backbiter that threatens the unity and brings about mistrust, loss of confidence, division and discord. To maintain unity and understanding of the Holy Spirit in the family, one has to avoid these diabolos.

When the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, it was manifest and seen by people, like tongues of fire. The fruits of the Holy Spirit should be manifest and lived out in us. One who claims to have received the Holy Spirit should manifest, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control in relationships with people. We pray for these gifts but above all we pray for the gift of unity and oneness.

First Reading: Acts 2:1-11,
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 104,
Second Reading: Galatians 5:16-25,
Gospel: John 20:19-23