When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 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, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
With the new translation of the Mass, there is a renewed recognition of the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. In the first reading we see God’s answer to the Tower of Babel story, where people become divided by language (Gn. 11:1-9). But diversity is not an obstacle to the Gospel because the Holy Spirit has allowed the apostles to preach in every tongue.
St. Ignatius advises that in ministry we should always “go in their door” in order to “bring them out our door.” As ambassadors of the Gospel, we are called to bring the saving message of Jesus Christ to all people, meeting them where they are, in whatever language and culture. In our polarized world, are we able to spread the Good News to everybody we meet in that same way?
Are you willing to love others who have different ideas and values, even ones opposed to your own?
Almighty ever-living God, who willed the Paschal Mystery to be encompassed as a sign in fifty days, grant that from out of the scattered nations the confusion of many tongues may be gathered by heavenly grace into one great confession of your name. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
—Collect prayer for Pentecost