FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2017
June 4, 2017
1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13
The Holy Spirit came down upon Jesus’ disciples on the day of Pentecost. It was a dramatic moment. “And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, …. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, …. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues” (Acts 2:2-4). Noise, fire, glossolalia! This was the fulfillment of God’s promise to clothe them with power from on high. Jesus “breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the holy Spirit.’” (Jn 20:22).
The noise like a great rush of wind signified the new action of God in the history of salvation. The fire symbolized the presence of God in preparing them to proclaim Christ in the power of the Spirit. The tongues symbolized the worldwide mission of the Church, as “there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem …. but …. each one heard them speaking in his own language.” (Acts 2:5-6). The disciples were speaking “of the mighty acts of God.” (Acts 2:11b).
The Spirit is given to Jesus’ disciples for the sake of mission, as Jesus sends them to continue his work. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (Jn 20:21b). To be able to accomplish the divine work of God in the world, there is need for God’s Church to be united.
The Church is after all the one body of Christ. “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.” (1 Cor 12:12). It is a diverse body but called to be one. This is accomplished by the action of the Holy Spirit. “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Cor 12:13). The Holy Spirit unites in diversity. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.” (1 Cor 12:4-6).
The variety of gifts, services and workings is intended to help accomplish the overall mission. All the parts of the body contribute to the one whole. “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” (1 Cor 12:7). This mission is the work of evangelization, to proclaim Christ and bring people to acceptance of Jesus as Savior and Lord. “And no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the holy Spirit.” (1 Cor 12:3b).
Today, on the Feast of Pentecost, on the birthday of our Catholic Church, we continue to pray for the infilling of the Holy Spirit, in order to unite and empower us in our mission of worldwide evangelization and renewal. “Send forth your spirit, they are created and you renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 104:30).
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