The message of Easter: Jesus is alive. A wife, Mary Magdalene, was the first human, who was allowed to announce the Good News – and had to do. Once more it was a radical sign of God, in which he tried to make it clear for the humans, that their rules and hierarchies are not guilty for him.
Back to the roots …
Fifty days after Easter the disciples of Jesus came together. Why? They celebrated a feast, the Jewish Shavuot. It takes place 7 weeks and one day after the feast of Pesach. It is the celebration of the harvest ( 2. Mose 23,16) or the day of the first field crops (4. Mose 28,26). It reminds also on the overhanding of the second version of the Ten Commandments from God through Mose to the people of Israel. And doubtlessly this feast inspired the Christian Whitsun.
But on this day something different happened. Suddenly a booming like a storm came from the sky. The disciples saw something like a lambently flame which set down on them: the Holy Spirit had imbued them. He gave them the ability to have conversations in different languages. Jewish people which came from several points of the world for the feast of the Shavuot, joined up and were surprised about the disciples that they were talking in their own language. Some of them recognized a miracle of God in that event, other ones simply thought the disciples were drunken. Pete, empowered by the Holy Spirit, gave a speech to the people. He announced that Jesus was the awaited Messiah and urged the listeners to change their life and get baptized. About three thousand people followed his invitation and so the day became the founding day of the first Christian community.
The Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2, 1 – 42) tell us about a big roar, a booming, – what could be meant with that? Perhaps it was a moan in the beginning, afterwards an uproar which came with the enthusiasm and real understanding by the people. Today we are not able to say what it really was. Only one is absolutely confident, it was the birthday of our church. It was the sign of the Holy Spirit which was poured out over the people – and on this the feast of Whitsun has to remember and encourage us. It is not the start of something completely new, it is the continuation of Easter. Whitsun is something like a warranty that the resurrection of Jesus and the joined promise is still valid – even after Easter.
In the Acts of the Apostles the happenings from Sinai get connected with the event of the day of Whitsun. Luke, the author of the text, wanted to make clear, that a new legislative power for the new community was installed, similar to the legislative power of the Sinai. The so called miracle of Pentecost was the ability of the disciples to speak and to recognize all languages. On the one hand, outgoing from the Christian point of view herewith the Babylonian confusion was cancelled. Thereby God has punished the arrogance of the people during the Tower of Babel. Furthermore the miracle is a sign that the message of Jesus Christ is valid for all people, independent of nationality, ethnicity or gender. The Holy Spirit overcomes all communication difficulties between people – and also between people and God.
And today …
The disciples wanted to impart that Jesus is connected in a new and personally way with the people through the Holy Spirit. The disciples understood the Holy Spirit as real presence and as a gift and talent. The Holy Spirit is a sign for the faithful community that different races, languages and talents are one and connected to each other. Each separation is suspended. In Pete’s homily of Whitsun Christian faith also means: the baptism in the name of Jesus Christ is following the atonement. The faith in Jesus Christ is the premise for the reception of the Holy Spirit. Following the New Testament each Christian is a “temple of the Holy Spirit”(1 Corinthians 6,19). He should pervade them with courage and power and give them different talents.
In the same way our Salvatorian Charter is guiding us in chapter 2 – Our Mission. It’s maintained:
We are called as Salvatorians to announce the Gospel by all ways and means that the love of God inspires – be urgent in season, out of season. Especially through the testimony of our life, in our manner and how we act. We are called as apostles of today to bring God’s unconditional love to the people.
Where and how?
Very easy – everywhere it’s possible and necessary! And necessary it’s especially in our own surrounding, at home, in our family, at our work place, in our community, – everywhere, we meet others.
But not lecturing. Let’s remember on the radicality of God we heard above at the beginning of this text. God is looking for easy people to be prophets, he got born in a stable and a woman announced the Gospel as first person. Just this can and has to encourage each one of us. Let’s take our talents to service the announcement, because Fr. Jordan has called us with his words:
As long as there is one person on earth,
Who doesn’t know God and doesn’t love Him above all things,
You dare not allow yourself a moment’s rest.
Fr. Francis Mary of the cross Jordan
Spiritual diary 2,1-2