08 Pentecost – the gift of a new Heart

posted May 17, 2018, 8:52 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 17, 2018, 8:53 AM ]
The Spirit is, in fact, the Easter Gift par excellence. He is the Creator Spirit, who constantly brings about new things. The Spirit makes of the disciples a new people; in the Gospel, He creates in the disciples a new heart. This is how the Word of God describes the working of the Spirit: first, He rests on each, and then brings all of them together in fellowship.

In the Acts of the Apostles, Pentecost is described as the day when "the Spirit came down from heaven, in the form of divided tongues, as of fire, rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages." (Acts 2:3-4) To each, He gives a gift, and then gathers them all into unity. In other words, the same Spirit creates diversity and unity, and in this way forms a new, diverse and unified people: the universal Church.

For this to continue, we need to avoid two recurrent temptations. The first temptation seeks diversity without unity. This happens when we want to separate, when we take sides and form parties, when we become locked into our own ideas and ways of doing things. When this happens, we choose the part over the whole, belonging to this or that group before belonging to the Church. We become avid supporters for one side, rather than brothers and sisters in the one Spirit. The result is diversity without unity.

The opposite temptation is that of seeking unity without diversity. Here, unity becomes uniformity, where everyone has to do everything together and in the same way, always thinking alike. Unity ends up being homogeneity, and no longer freedom. But, as Saint Paul says, "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (2 Cor 3:17)

So the prayer we make to the Holy Spirit is for the grace to receive His unity, to leave personal preferences aside, embrace and love His Church, our Church. It is to accept responsibility for unity among all, and to wipe out all discord and division and to be men and women of communion. It is also to ask for a heart that feels that the Church is our Mother and our home, an open and welcoming home where the manifold joy of the Holy Spirit is shared.