Daily Reflection
June 11th, 2000
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Acts 2:1-11
Psalms 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34
1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13
John 20:19-23

In the first few verses of the creation story in Genesis, we read how God “hovered” over the vast emptiness, breathed a “spirit” and there was light and then the rest of creation.

Today, we celebrate the great feast of God’s sending the Holy Spirit upon a new creation, the Church.  The Jewish feast of “Shavout” or “weeks,” was the reason for the large number of Jews to be gathered in Jerusalem.  It is the feast for our Jewish brothers and sisters to celebrate the passing of seven weeks since the second day of Passover.  It is also a spring-harvest feast, thanking God for the abundance of fruitfulness sent upon the earth by God’s creating spirit.  This Spirit remains upon us and this vastness called earth.  It still is working out the completion of creation, which will be God’s “kingdom.” 

For us Christians, Pentecost is the beginning of the “End Time.”  God is faithful by sending the Spirit to bring about a full manifestation of the Epiphany, which is Jesus. 

In the First Reading for today’s liturgy, we will hear the unusual story of how the early community is gathered together from all different areas and languages.  There is the “confusion of tongues” which is known as “Babble.”  When the Spirit again “hovers” over their darkness, tongues of fire enlighten their minds and hearts with the resultant communion of spirits and understanding.

The famous Second Reading brings into focus that there is one Lord, one Spirit, but many manifestations of that Oneness.  “There are many works but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.”  We are baptized into that same Spirit which makes us one In Christ and one with each other.  This is the day we celebrate the Church’s being baptized.  The Spirit splashes the group of differing persons and the Church begins to be created with the same missioning words, “Let there be light.”

The Gospel is John’s account of Jesus’ breathing the Spirit upon their chaos       and forming them into a blest group, who is to be sent out as He was sent into.  Instead of formless disorder, there is now to be “peace” and instead of free-floating guilt, there is to be forgiveness through the Church from the “laboring God” Who does not abandon the project.

Creation resulted from the Spirit’s “hovering” and the coming into flesh of the Word of God resulted from the “overshadowing” of the Spirit.  That same Spirit continues to be given, to hover, to overshadow and bless each of us.  The work of the Spirit is “sacrament.”  In the Eucharistic prayer, there is an asking of the Spirit “to come upon these gifts and make them holy.”   We have all kinds of names for this working out of the “project” of full-creation.  We have “Epiphany” revelation, manifestation, incarnation and what we might reverently call, “showing off.”

As we put on nice clothes, powder, things to make us smell like flowers, and all this to make us attractive, so we are dressed by the Spirit to make God attractive.  The Spirit labors for us to see and accept all the other gifts God has given us so that this giving God might be seen and known all the more.  The Spirit is continually given so that there will be a harvest of goodness on the earth through the sacredness of our human bodies and lives.  “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.” 

It seems to work this way; Christ became flesh through the Holy Spirit.  Through that same spirit we, though many are made into Christ through Baptism.  Our actions manifest Him and this is the harvest; bringing all creation into Christ’s Kingdom.

“Come, Holy Spirit, come!
O most blessed Light divine, shine within these hearts of yours
And our inmost being fill.”

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