Movement; God’s revelation is, in a very important way a lesson on movement, direction. There is no stationary activity in our faith. To live our faith as God intends we need to understand what is the correct movement – what direction gains us a closer relationship with God; and the readings for the Solemnity of Pentecost highlight this important understanding.
Last evening, in the vigil celebration of Pentecost we heard the story of the Tower Babel. In it we see mankind, relying on their own means to build their kingdom. They were climbing up to God by themselves – they didn’t need His help. In this narrative we see God confusing them with language. If we remember that mankind was unaware of this change, then this story points out that mankind, in spite of their great achievements and relying on their self, comes into conflict with each other – at a certain point they don’t understand each other, can’t relate and even trust each other – society disintegrates into a collective of isolated people. For us, trying to climb to God doesn’t work.
In today’s first reading from the Acts, the movement is down, God comes down, He moves towards mankind. And this shouldn’t surprise us, since the whole of the revealed word shows us that God, desires to come to us. In Genesis, God comes to Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden. God comes to Abram, to Noah, to Moses, to the prophets and the kings, he enters Mary and Joseph’s life. Christ comes to St. John the Baptist and His disciples, He is constantly moving from village to village coming to those He desires to proclaim the good news to. He journeys to Jerusalem and offers Himself to the leadership for His passion. And today He sends His Holy Spirit down on His disciples and His mother. God’s movement is downward – God goes out to meet us.
For us this means that we must, if we desire to be faithful followers of God empty ourselves of inflated understanding of ourselves and allow God to work on our hearts. We need to humble ourselves to allow God to meet us where we are – it is then that heaven meets earth; it is this action that allows mankind to reach their heavenly goal. It is then that the new Jerusalem is realized, at least for now.
As we enter Ordinary Time – let’s call upon the Holy Spirit, who is within us, to open our minds and hearts to the direction God’s wants us to take. Let’s drop down and meet those around us, those in need, where they are – after all God continues to do that for us. Let’s empty ourselves of everything but God’s love, His Holy Spirit, and together with those we help we can reach our heart’s desire – heaven.