Solemnity of Pentecost, Year C – Sunday,May 19, 2013
We know the story well (Acts 2:1-10) — it is the dawn of the day of Pentecost and the followers of Jesus are gathered to wait and pray. This new day begins with an explosion of sounds from heaven, and a violent wind. The story is reminiscent of the mighty wind that hovered over the waters in the Genesis creation story. What was first heard was then seen — tongues like fire (2:3). The first gift of the Holy Spirit is the gift of speech in different languages.
The scene quickly shifts from the inside upper room, where the disciples are gathered, to the Jerusalem streets outside the house. There the Gospel is already drawing crowds together. Out in the streets, “devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem (2:5)” confront the church, and their initial response is bewilderment (2:6). The “tongues” spoken of are obviously various languages of “every nation under heaven,” since each foreigner exclaims: “We hear, each of us, in our own native language” (2:8).
Luke’s roll call of the nations — Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes (2:9-10) — makes it very clear that no nationality is excluded from the proclamation of the Good News. In these few lines, Luke gives us a story in miniature, of the whole plot of the Acts of the Apostles. [Read more...]