Do you remember the moment when you understood — fully grasped the concept — that 2 + 2 = 4? Do you remember the first time you could put together the letters d-o-g or w-a-t-e-r and knew exactly what that combination of letters meant?
Or the day you got your driver’s license and the first time you took to the road by yourself — without Mum or Dad or a driving instructor sitting next to you? What a sense of power you felt! Everyone — even you — saw you a little differently from then on.
Will you ever forget the moment you realized you were in love with the person who would become your spouse, that this was the “one” you wanted to spend the rest of your life with? Something inside of you convinced you that this was meant to be.
What about that first big project you took responsibility for? You were terrified — but you kept that to yourself underneath a veneer of confidence bordering on bravado. You never worked harder in your life. It was as if all those economics courses in college and those internships where you were all but invisible had been designed to prepare you for this one project. What you had seen and heard had now become real.
In the Pentecost event, the faith they had received and the wonders they had witnessed came together for the Eleven and the remnant of Jesus’ disciples. It was a moment of understanding, clarity and wisdom that now enabled them to begin the task Jesus had entrusted to them but were largely clueless to take on: to realize the Kingdom of God that Jesus had revealed in the Gospel. What happens today in the story of Pentecost is more than a miracle of instantaneous translation – it is a miracle of understanding. The Spirit of God breaks through the barriers of language and culture to create a unity of empathy and respect, bringing different peoples together as the one people of God. It is the Spirit of God that enables us to listen as well as speak, to see from the perspective of another in order to find a common path to travel together, to find solutions to problems that incorporate the gifts of all for the good of all.
It’s that same Spirit of God that God instills in our own church — both the domestic church of our home and the Eucharistic church of our parish community: the light of God’s wisdom and the power of God’s grace to create that Kingdom here and now.