This reflection was inspired by the Sunday Mass readings of May 15, 2016—Pentecost Sunday:
I’d like to focus on just a few verses from today’s liturgy:
“And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim” (Acts 2-4, as quoted in the first reading).
What can be symbolically taken from this is that “they” (who seem to comprise a number of disciples, looking at Acts 1) were being driven by love to proclaim the Gospel to all people as God wanted them to.
To dissect that statement: they were being driven (“driving wind”) by love (“tongues as of fire”—I think a Poetry classmate of mine from the fall semester may have made that connection) to proclaim the Gospel to all people (“[they] began to speak in different tongues”) as God wanted them to (“as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim”).
This should be the story of every Christian’s life: to be truly driven to bring the Good News that we’ve been given the chance to be raised from the dead to everyone we can, and to be specifically driven to do so out of love for them, out of a desire for these other people to share in eternal life—which makes sense since loving people is willing their well-being (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1766).
Want inspiration for this? Think about those people who won’t get to inherit eternal life, but will instead go to hell upon their death. There should be no thought more repulsive to us, nothing we would want to avoid more, than seeing someone suffer the torment of hell. Would we want that for ourselves? Would we want others to not care where we ended up for eternity? For anyone who knows what it means to go to heaven or hell, the answer to both of those questions should be “NO.” It is both in obedience to the Golden Rule, and to the command to love even our enemies (see Mt 5:44, NABRE), that we should want more than anything to bring all of those around us to eternal joy in the presence of God.
The other thing to keep in mind is that we should only evangelize “as the Spirit [enables us] to proclaim.” My employer recently made the point that she has to be careful to write what God wants rather than what she wants. We should all take care, when evangelizing, to not do so pridefully or arrogantly as we might be tempted, but lovingly and humbly. As the Church teaches, “The end does not justify the means” (CCC, 1759). How can we hope to help others to do God’s will (and thus, through God’s grace and mercy, reach heaven) while refusing to do God’s will ourselves in the process?
God bless whoever’s read this far, and I wish you a happy Pentecost Sunday!
If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth (Ps 104:30, as quoted in today’s responsorial Psalm). This seems applicable, especially to my last points.