PENTECOST (part 3)
It is not passive waiting: Prayer and unity
As a condition of preparatory outpouring of the Spirit, Luke does not insist so much on conversion but as the necessity of prayer. All these were devoted to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers, says Acts 1:14. In this attitude of meditation we find the apostolic community waiting in the Upper Room. The report that Luke puts between prayer and reception of the Spirit recalls the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan (Luke 3:21-22), and also suggests a wait aware of the order and of the most appropriate means to achieve it. Is an assiduous prayer, constant, as expressed by the imperfect periphrastic ‘s verb form proskarteréo, which means’ insist’, so resolute, almost stubborn, according to the teaching of the Master on the demand of the Spirit to the Father (Lk 11:13 ). The Holy Spirit can only be achieved devoting himself with zeal and perseverance to prayer. The wait is not passivity, but it requires a movement of the soul stretched upward. The response to the voltage from the bottom up is the descent from the top down, of what the Father has promised.
The other essential condition for the Pentecost to happen is expressed by the adverb omothymadòn (‘agree, unanimously’). It expresses the idea of the communion that must join the group waiting effusion. The adverb also expressed the unanimous awareness of the essence and importance of the gift requested.
The fulfillment of the promise
The first Christian Pentecost is considered by Luke a reality so important for the Church to take an entire chapter of introduction, Acts 1 which acts as a historical frame to the event that will mark the f ‘public birth’ of the Christian community. Pentecost has been called ‘the baptism of the Church’, as the baptism of the Messiah had inaugurated his Palestinian ministry …. On the day of Pentecost inaugurates the time of the Spirit, the Church and its mission, which Jesus had foretold.
The arrival of the Spirit
The Holy Spirit comes in the roar of the wind and in the view of the fire. According to an even anthropomorphic vision of divinity , in the Old Testament theophanies, Yahweh made his presence felt in the natural elements: the roar of the waves (Ps 65.8), the fury of the storm (Ps. 50.3; Jer 23,19; Na 1, 3), and the roar of thunder (Ps 104.7; Ez: 10.5; Ex 19:19), the strong wind (1 Kings 19:11; Isaiah 66.15). In particular, the manifestation and the divine essence is expressed by the fire element (characteristic the episode of the burning bush, which, while burning, is not consumed, Ex 3:2). The external signs that characterize the Christian Pentecost are only an indication of the true miracle, which is the intervention of God’s miracle lies not so much in overcoming the laws of natural elements, but in the fact that God is present in them with the power of His Spirit. The feeling that the wind fills the whole house suggests a vigorous eruption of the divine in human space, which wraps every present reality. Moreover, already the Baptist had proclaimed about the Messiah: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:16 / / Mt 3:11 / / John 1:33 / / Acts 11:16). Using the verb baptizo the evangelists have in mind that it is a total immersion in the supernatural power.
The Spirit of God comes with its set of extraordinary gifts: speaking in tongues, prophecy, the gift of healing and miracles, the gift of reading hearts, parrhesia, ie the announcement without any fear of death and resurrection of Christ . Of this gift the apostles give good test before the Sanhedrin of the Jews and the courts Gentiles, it will accompany them in their mission to the ends of the earth.
Pentecost is a unique event?
Pentecost is not a unique event relegated to the early church. It will be repeated each time the faithful will gather and ask the assistance of the Spirit (cf. Acts 4.23 to 31) and will accompany the proclamation of Christ by the disciples (cf. Acts 8:16-17, l The missionary activity of Philip in Samaria, and the baptism of the Samaritans, Acts 10, the baptism of the centurion Cornelius, Acts 19:1-7, the encounter of Paul with the followers of John in Ephesus). And ‘the freedom of action of the Holy Spirit, whose outpouring not only remains committed to the Upper Room of Pentecost in Jerusalem and the Jewish people: the miracle is repeated every time the divine wisdom deems necessary to intervene in favor of the early Church for its defense or its expansion in view of the spread of the Kingdom. The Spirit of God also accompanies us today, just that we want and we ask, because is the promise that characterizes the new covenant (Rom 2:29; 2 Cor 3:6) and God is living up to its promises.
By L. Lucci, Testimoni del Risorto, Villa Verucchio (RN) 2008