Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Pentecost with Pastor Carlos
50 days have come and gone, and Easter season draws to a close today with the feast of Pentecost. According to the account in Acts, “a noise like a strong driving wind, filled the entire house in which they [the disciples] were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire...” Later in the passage, people from many different countries commented how they heard the disciples “speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God."
The Church as the herald of the good news of Jesus Christ to all the nations, was born on this day. The Holy Spirit allowed the disciples to speak to everyone in his or her own language. Every known country at the time was represented, and they all heard the mighty acts of God in their own tongue. This event speaks of the universality of the Church: How the church is called to proclaim Christ to all nations, so that all peoples may be saved.
In my correspondence with a parishioner, lately we have been discussing what it means to be Catholic. One topic has led to another, and lately the question at hand has been: why, of all the various Christian traditions, are we called to the Catholic Church? What surfaced in our exchange of e-mails is that catholicity is linked with universality. Our Church is not a self-selected group of individuals. What unites us is not a common language, or ethnic background, but the Truth of the Gospel that the Holy Spirit wants proclaimed in every language and nation.
In other words, there is something deeper than even our common humanity that calls us to be in unity with one another. The celebration of Pentecost today invites us to reflect on our own participation and commitment to live as members of the body of Christ: a body that includes all cultural backgrounds and languages.
In a world that tries to pit one group against another, I am grateful to live at St Augustine Monastery, where Fr Phil and I live with friars born in Ireland, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, and myself from Colombia. The American-born friars speak of traditions from their parents or grandparents from Italy, Germany, Canada, or Korea. We have a diversity also in life experience and educational backgrounds. We call one another brother, because in Christ we are called to live “in one mind and heart on the way to God.” Fr. Phil and I try to foster the same spirit here in the parish.
God bless, Fr. Carlos, OSA