A New Day Dawning

A New Day Dawning

by Jo Doyle                                                   Ireland                                      25.05.2024

holy spirit resizedWhen I linger on the mysteries of God, I realize that I don’t really know an awful lot.  Pentecost, however, is one of the big mysteries.
I ask, what does Pentecost mean?  Often the reply is, oh, it’s the coming of the Holy Spirit.  So, I ask again, what does that mean?
Most answers don’t touch my core and certainly don’t touch me enough to change me.

The tongues of fire, large winds, speaking in tongues, all connote the presence of God.  Remember Moses in front of the burning bush and unable to speak!  Is union with God about Pentecost?

The coming of the Holy Spirit is a bit like pulled pork, it makes sense in bits and pieces.  In one Corinthians 12, there is context to the Body of Christ, which is not a single part but many.  Jew, gentile, Greek, slave or free, all seemingly were included into the Body.  Is inclusion part of the meaning of Pentecost?  Then there were others who were called into the body, after Pentecost.  Saul the antichrist who became Paul.  Of course, the apostles, who had experienced the fire of the Holy Spirit, somewhat like Moses and the women, these friends of Jesus who stood at the foot of the cross, Mary his mother, along with all the other Marys, knew something powerful had happened.  Even though at the descent of the Holy Spirit Mary’s name is not mentioned in the Bible, the Church says she was there.  Imagine if there were no women, there would be no life.

If we are all invited by the Spirit into the Body of Christ then can you imagine the variety of gifts, but the same spirit, what a diversity of life we would have.

Are we afraid of this?  A variety of people with many gifts?  Life would be boring without it.  It seems the spirit is inviting us into the body to use our gifts for the common good.  Imagine living where only the elite were invited to use their gifts.  We would end up with small myopic closed off groups afraid of change, excluding others and terrified of themselves.  This is the opposite of Pentecost.

To be a Pentecost survivor you need to have the courage to be led by the Spirit.  Pentecost enlightens us and aligns us to the wants of the spirit.  There are few certitudes walking this way, but those who walk with Him are not naive and are willing to be led and transformed into compassion and relationship.  Spirit is about relationship and if you look close enough at life, unity is created by diversity where we discover a sense of belonging to the larger.  When we cling to the smaller, however, oddly enough that emphasizes difference and can isolate and alienate.

Now back to Pentecost.  One body with diverse gifts.  Is this a gift or do we have to earn it?  We think if we are good, we will earn God’s love but being open to unity, diversity and belonging is the gift that falls on everyone if we are open to receive it.  Pentecost is a discovery of who we are and what part we play.

I look to Good Friday and the wounding.  The descent, rising and healing of Resurrection and then the discovery of who we are with Christ.  Karl Rahner says that the only future of the Christian Church is the mystical church.  Is that the call to union, to die with Him so as to rise with Him and now to answer the call of the Spirit where we will belong to the larger body?

If you look at the Vatican structure, Vatican Square is really two arms openly embracing all people who walk into it, and in alignment with this same Spirit being sent out from that full embrace to the whole world.

Can you imagine a world if that was Pentecost!


Jo Wardhaugh Doyle is farming in Kildare with her husband Matt. She has worked in Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya, but more recently has worked with Sr Rita Kelly MMM doing the REAP programme in the Irish Missionary Union (IMU).