Pentecost Sunday

When on Pentecost Sunday the Apostles first proclaimed the Christian message, they presented the Gospel to people from all over the world yet were heard speaking in their own languages. The Greeks heard the message in Greek, the Persians in Farsi, the Romans in Latin, the Jews in Hebrew or Aramaic, etc. Although the people who heard the message were from all over, the message itself united them into one people. This was and is the work of the Holy Spirit, forming us into One Person, the Body of Christ[1].

Pluralism is not an exception in the Church, it is the norm. As an example of pluralism consider the type of experiences that we had right here in the United States. There are Hispanic Catholics, Black Catholics, and White Catholics, Asian Catholics, Byzantine Catholics, etc. Issues affecting women as women, men as men, youth, children, the sick, and the elderly are all discussed regularly. The very word Catholic means universal[2].

All of us together are formed by the Holy Spirit in the one Body of Christ. We have to get away from the thought that someone or some group is rather an exception than a norm in the Church. There is no one normal group in the Body of Christ. We are all united by the Holy Spirit to make up this Body. All partake of the heart of the Body's existence.

So also in our parish. There are hundreds of people who are part of the ministries of our parish. Some are talented teachers, some are musically talented, some visit the sick and homebound, some welcome inquirers, some work with our young people, some serve in a liturgical position. I could go on and on. None of these ministers are on the border of the parish. All make up the heart of the parish because we are all united by the Holy Spirit.

As Catholics we don't just put up with each other's differences, we value each other's differences as a unique manifestation of the Holy Spirit without which our faith body would be incomplete.

Yet the Holy Spirit unites all different viewpoints to make the Body of Christ complete. Therefore, it would be as wrong for me to impose my individual perceptions on others, as it would be for others to demand that I see things through their eyes. The message that comes clear to us at Pentecost is that we must respect each other's differences. We have all been gifted with unique manifestations of the Spirit. The Church is stronger for our letting the Spirit live in our lives. Without the Holy Spirit we would be a disorganized mob. With the Holy Spirit we are the Body of Christ.

On Pentecost Sunday, the Church was born. The Holy Spirit united different people into the one Body of Christ. We, the members of the Body of Christ, benefit from our differences one from the other. May we allow the Holy Spirit to flow through our lives so that our respect for each other's uniqueness might itself draw more people to become members of His Body ■

[1] Sunday 11th May, 2008, Pentecost Sunday. Readings: Acts 2:1-11. Lord, send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth—Ps 103(104):1, 24, 29-31, 34. 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13. John 20:19-23.
[2] Catholic is an adjective derived from the Greek adjective 'καθολικός / katholikos', meaning "general; universal.

Ilustration: Joseph Ignaz Mildorfer (1719, Innsbruck - 1775, Vienna), Pentecost (1750s), Oil on canvas, 55 x 33 cm, Hungarian National Gallery (Budapest)

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris