Readings for Pentecost Sunday remind us of God's call to be one
by Sister Ann Rehrauer
As I reflected on the Scriptures for this weekend’s feast, I was struck by the sense of UNITY that permeates the Pentecost mystery. In the reading from Acts, the disciples were “all in one place together.” Perhaps they were gathered to pray, or in anticipation of Christ’s promise to send the advocate -– but they were TOGETHER, one in mind and heart. Through the gift of the Spirit, many others heard and came to understand that the principle of their deepest UNITY was a belief in the saving life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
In the second reading, St. Paul describes the different spiritual gifts and various forms of service which the early Christian community carried out. All good gifts are given by the ONE Spirit, and it is the ONE Lord whose mission is served. It was that witness of love and UNITY in the early community that drew others to faith. Such UNITY meant (and means today) that there is no need for power struggles or competition between those who exercise ministry. As one body with many parts, we are called to be ONE in mind and heart.
The Gospel account describes the disciples’ experience of the Risen Jesus in their midst, offering them peace, sending them forth, and calling them to the ministry of forgiveness -- of reconciliation and UNITY, through the power of the Spirit.
In our day, 2000 years after the Pentecost miracle, we find ourselves in a time and place of deep divisions and lack of UNITY. Political partisanship divides this nation and stymies our legislatures from working together for the common good. Culturally and socially there is a deep separation about common endeavors, a renewed arms race, a re-emergence of racism and sexism, and economic and power struggles, rather than an awareness of our need to work together globally for the good of the planet and the survival of the human race.
Even in our Church we find a lack of UNITY in liturgy, piety, and aspects of parish life. Using the labels “liberal” and “conservative” somehow justifies our baser instincts that discount the ideas or the value of others.
As we gather to celebrate the Spirit’s presence in our Church and our world this weekend, may our prayer be: that the Spirit again renew the face of the earth, and that we may be ONE, even as Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are of ONE MIND and ONE HEART.