Thursday, June 9, 2011

The breath of God

Artwork by Gwen Meharg:

Sunday, June 12, 2011
Solemnity of Pentecost—A

Acts 2:1-11
1Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
John 20:19-23

The Holy Spirit is the very breath of God who enlivens and enlightens all creation. The Third Person of the Holy Trinity, sent by the Risen Son through the Father, breathes life into the Church so that the world may live, move, and have its entire being in God.

Filled with the joy of the Resurrection, this is the message and mission of Pentecost for the Church—2,000 years ago, and today.

Wind and Spirit are associated with one another throughout Scripture. This analogy—and reality—is meant to remind us that we live by the very breath—or Spirit—of God. The Spirit—wind—is stirred up whenever God is creating or achieving one of his “mighty acts.”

The first verses of Genesis tell us that the “mighty wind” of God swept over the chaotic and dark nothingness to bring order and light and life to the universe. In Genesis 2:7, God forms man and blows into him the “breath of life.” In Genesis 8:1, God makes a “wind sweep over the earth” to chase away the deadly waters of the Great Flood. In Exodus 14:21, acting through Moses, God’s wind sweeps over the Red Sea to part the waters and grant the Israelites safe passage. In Ezekiel 37, the prophet in a vision imparts God’s breath to restore life in a valley of dry bones.

In today’s readings for Pentecost, these signs take on new meaning in God’s mighty act of breathing life—the Holy Spirit—into the Church through Christ. A mighty wind, tongues of fire, and the very breath of Jesus fill his disciples with the divine life necessary to go out and fill the world with his presence.

As he sent them with the Spirit, so he sends us. The gift of the Holy Spirit continues the work of God through our service of one another. So, as the Church, the Body of Christ, let us breathe God’s peace into the world and enflame it with the fire of his love—for many though we are, we all drink of the one Spirit!

No comments: