Towards Pentecost, in the light of Easter
Updated: Nov 14, 2020
Together with all Western Christianity (Catholic, Anglican and Reformed churches), the Community of Sant’Egidio has been walking the time of Easter, moving towards the great feast of Pentecost. We prepare to be together in the “upper room” – as said by the Acts of the Apostles – to be inflamed by the power of the Holy Spirit, which “will explain us all things”. It is actually on Pentecost day that the community of the disciples becomes Church – i.e. ecclesia, assembly – a single togetherness of diverse people without any borders, barriers or divisions.
No more “Jew or Gentile”, says the apostle Paul: when the Spirit comes, He flows where he wants and all distinctions fade away: there is no longer Briton or stranger, European or African, Asian or American, rich or poor, youth or elderly, native or migrant, healthy or ill, possibly not even saint or sinner. The Spirit flows everywhere, burns with His fire every dirt of sin and injustice, opens us to the meaning of Scriptures, to the love for the poor and to passion for peace.
On Pentecost, the Community discovers the world, and falls in love with it. Because it is on Pentecost day that the Spirit teaches the children of God the extent of Jesus’s love for the world. For this reason every Pentecost the Community gathers in one single wide assembly without borders and cries in unity one more time «Christ is risen, truly He is risen».
Yes, Jesus is indeed risen, and he is waiting for his disciples in Galilee, as announced by the angel over the empty tomb. Because if the Church is born on Pentecost, the Community is born in the Easter mysteries. It is in the gesture of the Washing of the feet – which the Community faithfully renews every Maundy Thursday all over the world – that the disciples feel the infinite measure of Jesus’s love for them, who bows down as a slave to wash their feet and set them free (“No longer servants, but friends” says the Lord).
It is in the tragic epiphany of the Cross on Good Friday that Jesus shows the world the way “not to save oneself” but rather give “one’s own life for one’s friends”. On the cross Jesus takes over all the sufferance and pain of all defeated, marginalised, excluded, abused ones of all history; on the cross Jesus undergoes humiliation, pain, subjugation, death and even hell, so that man would no longer be alone whilst facing the worst darkness.
This is why the Community often celebrates the mystery of the cross in places wounded by the violence of history, such as the Grenfell-Tower area in Central London, where countless poor people died in a tragic fire two years ago. And it is finally in the joy of the Resurrection that Jesus reconciles the human nature with its divine destiny and vocation, as well as with its own intrinsic harmony. Jesus is risen and everybody rise with Him. The poor rise with Him, the elderly rise with Him, the humble rise with Him, the peacemakers rise with Him, the sinners are freed up from guilt and rise with Him.
It is on Pentecost that the Spirit makes the disciples – i.e. us, if we want – fully aware of this liberating and saving truth. It is on Pentecost that we understand, therefore it is on Pentecost that we open the doors of our heart which we used to keep shut and move altogether towards the world to announce the Gospel of Easter.
As said in the Acts of the Apostles, we will speak to people in their own languages, using the diverse words and deeds they can understand in their cultures, nations, even religious backgrounds. So this is our wish and our humble prayer to the Lord for this Pentecost 2019: may we become – through the fire of the Holy Spirit – aware and credible announcers of Christ, who is our Lord and our Easter.