Disciples, Apostles, and Saints!
After seven weeks of Easter, we gather on the fiftieth day, wearing red, to celebrate Pentecost. The day made famous by tongues of fire, rushing wind, and improbable language artistry. And each year, we dream up ways to capture the nature of the spectacle. With banners, readings, or some use of fire.
These images of the event, however, help reveal the nature of it. A moment, not so much about the miraculous disciples, but the miracle of understanding. Spectacles get noticed. But effectively communicating in ways that are understood keepattention. And in this moment, making it so the Good News could be understood was the real miracle.
I’ve always loved Pentecost. Probably because it makes it impossible to take a passive role in it. Most weeks, we can focus on how awesome Jesus is. We can deconstruct his teachings and talk about his intentions. We can speculate—and keep ourselves busy with objective concepts of “right” and “wrong.”
But not this week. Jesus has ascended and the ball is in our court. Now the spotlight is on us. Not on our behavior or on our character, but on the mission we are given. Which is this, as described in the catechism:
“The Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace, and love.”