Readings for May 31, 2020
Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34
1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13
In both Greek (pneuma) and Hebrew (rauch), the word Spirit is translated from the word for “breath,” or “wind.” In the account of Pentecost from Acts, the Holy Spirit came to the Apostles when “there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.” Similarly, John describes how Jesus “breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” There are also many other descriptions of wind and breath in Scripture, but the most important may be when God breathes life into Adam. “Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (GEN 2:7). Significantly, there is no other depiction of wind or breath in the Creation Story.
If the Holy Spirit is the breath of God, and if we believe that God breathed life into Man, His Created being, then our life in Christ is fulfilled in the sending of the Holy Spirit. To me, this is the significance of the celebration of Pentecost. Jesus had promised the Apostles he would not abandon them, but leave them an advocate, a counselor. At Pentecost Jesus left to us a gift which is far more than just and advocate; the Holy Spirit is the essence of life from God. Indeed, when we say we are “filled with the Spirit,” we are truly saying we are filled with the breath of God.
What began with the breath of God in the Creation of Man is fulfilled by Jesus breathing on the Apostles the gift of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is the full sanctification of all that God saw as good and the final act of our return to Him. “Receive the Holy Spirit” and receive the breath of God.
Come Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your love. Amen