June 9, 2019
Shortly after Easter one year, a woman in my parish who had been received into the Church at the Easter Vigil told me how welcomed she felt in the Catholic family. The sense of openness and tolerance she experienced was especially important to her.
It’s a characteristic of Catholicism to see God’s goodness in all of creation, in various human endeavors, and in the cultures and histories of human beings wherever the gospel is preached. While we haven’t always lived up to that ideal, I was happy that my new parishioner experienced something of that spirit.
That universal dimension is also one of the themes of Pentecost. The dramatic story of the descent of the Holy Spirit tells us how the Holy Spirit can break down walls we may put up between peoples, races, and cultures. What we see as obstacles, the Spirit can use to create a new unity: a reversal of the story of the tower of Babel in Genesis, when people let human arrogance lead to disunity, as one human language fractured into many different tongues.
Today across the world, a myriad of voices, different languages, and many cultural expressions will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. Let’s join our voices with that Pentecost chorus.