-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*
As the great feast of Pentecost approaches, there are several dimensions of this festival which strike me. These include:
Pentecost is SPIRIT
It is the celebration of the birth of the Church. The Lord breathing the wind and fire of his Spirit upon his Church fifty days after he rose from the dead. It is the day when we allow the Lord's Spirit to permeate the innermost core of our being: to touch us, to transform us, to make of us Spirit-filled people; visibly and vocally, his disciples in every sense of the word.
Pentecost is STRENGTH
The one great sign of this feast is the fact that once they were filled with the Lord's Spirit, the disciples showed incredible strength. The courage to stand up and speak out. To proclaim who Jesus is, what he did, how he lived, died and rose from the dead. The strength to face hostility of every kind; in order to stand up for the truth; to speak truth to power; the strength to be a fire in order to kindle other fires.
Pentecost is SOLIDARITY
Pentecost symbolizes solidarity among all peoples and all nations. The disciples, we are told were able 'to speak in tongues'. A more profound understanding is that people from across the spectrum, from every race and nation, were able to understand them; the ability to be open to the working of the Lord's Spirit in spite of their differences. A real bonding which was able to transcend the narrow confines of nationality, ethnicity, race, colour, caste, whatever The event truly created a union of hearts and minds.
Pentecost is SERVICE
"Not all who say 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven but he who does the will of my Father" is a strong remark given to us by Jesus. In this context, Mary becomes the symbol of Pentecost. She is there with the apostles accompanying them in their desolation and their loneliness. She provides them with a new hope in the Cenacle, serving them, ministering to them. On the day of Pentecost, she is surely the motivating factor, encouraging them to go out and serve the whole world. In her selfless service, she is the Queen of the Apostles.
Pentecost is SUSTAINABILITY
Pentecost is not a once-and-for-all event. It cannot be limited to 'the feast of harvest' or to 'the feast of the weeks' or 'a commemoration of the Law that was given at Mount Sinai'. It is essentially the beginning of a lived faith which is meant to be sustainable and renewed every moment of our lives. It is a celebration of life: a life that gives life to others!
"Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of your faithful
And enkindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created
And you shall renew the face of the earth".
26th May, 2012
(* Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ is the Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)
Address: PRASHANT, Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052