- Acts 2:1-21 or Genesis 11:1-9 •
- Psalm 104:24-34, 35b •
- Romans 8:14-17 or Acts 2:1-21 •
- John 14:8-17, (25-27)
|Pentecost -- El Greco|
In ordinary speech, the English word ‘enthusiasm’ does not have religious overtones. But in fact it comes from Greek words meaning a special kind of zeal that results from divine inspiration. This is exactly what the disciples display in this week’s passage from Acts. Overwhelmed by the Spirit of God, they showed such enthusiasm that passersby stopped to stare, and concluded that they must be drunk.
The Feast of Pentecost, which is observed six weeks after Easter, commemorates this event. Though it no longer attracts anything like the same attention as Christmas and Easter, it is in fact a third, and equally major festival of the Christian year. Why is it so important? The answer lies in today’s Gospel which begins with a request – ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied’. Everyone who has any feel for religion can hear the deep longing that Philip expresses. But Christ’s answer -- 'Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’ – contains a salutary reminder. We can fail to be satisfied with the truth.
|St Philip -- James Tissot|
The Spirit which took possession of the disciples, John tells us, was expressly sent by Jesus – ‘The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you’. It is in Truth, Peace and Love that this Holy Spirit is to be found. Yet the gift of this Spirit is not ‘as the world gives’. A spirit of truth, love and peace does not lay any great store by affirmation, vindication or accomplishment – all of them things on which both societies and individuals tend to fix. That is why we are prone to reject the Holy Spirit and keep on looking.
So if this truly Holy Spirit is to ‘abide in us’, we must not' let our hearts be troubled 'by worldly desires, or 'be afraid' of worldly failure.