Retreat of Pentecost, Part 1
Come, O Holy Spirit, come! From Your bright and blissful Home Rays of healing light impart. Come, Father of the poor, Source of gifts that will endure Light of ev’ry human heart.
Within the next days we will use the written text of the retreat of Pentecost which we produced for Pentecost. For those who listened to us it is like a repetition and for those who did not listen they come into contact with the retreat. If you have the possibility you can also hear the conference on youtube:
Pentecost has come!
What was it like when the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and enlightened the disciples of the Lord?
His coming was connected with a great miracle and at that moment the so-called Babylonian confusion of language was lifted. Everyone understood the sermon of the apostles in their own language. Let us recall the passage in the Old Testament, which reports on the confusion of tongues:
The whole world spoke the same language, with the same vocabulary. Now, as people moved eastwards they found a valley in the land of Shinar where they settled. They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and bake them in the fire.’ For stone they used bricks, and for mortar they used bitumen. ‘Come,’ they said, ‘let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top reaching heaven. Let us make a name for ourselves, so that we do not get scattered all over the world.’ Now Yahweh came down to see the city and the tower that the people had built. So they are all a single people with a single language!’ said Yahweh. ‘This is only the start of their undertakings! Now nothing they plan to do will be beyond them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language there, so that they cannot understand one another.’ Yahweh scattered them thence all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel, since there Yahweh confused the language of the whole world, and from there Yahweh scattered them all over the world.
It is a common and certainly true interpretation of Scripture that the building of the Tower of Babel was about people wanting to rise up to God. This is expressed here in physical terms, but certainly to be understood even more deeply in spiritual terms: It is about man’s attempt – under the guidance of the “spirit of rebellion” – to want to take God’s place. This is an intention of the fallen angel, which he has pursued up to the present day, and unfortunately he has found enough collaborators in humanity.
Let us now look at the effects of this attempt described in the Bible: the previously uniform language is being confused! People no longer understand each other, they no longer speak a uniform language, and they are scattered. A hopeless state of affairs that continues to this day!
In order to better understand the divine process at Pentecost, let us once again consider the concept of confusion of language and we can assume that not only the external language has been confused, but that people often do not understand each other in their hearts, and are often confused in their knowledge of God. Let us think of the report about the idols in the times of the Old Testament, behind which demons hid and deceived people from the true image of God!
What confusion and aberrations from true knowledge of God!
What a laborious way of God to give the commandments through the people of Israel and to teach them the right way of worshipping God! What a struggle to keep them from falling again and again into the night of sin and confusion! What patience and love of our heavenly Father is necessary for this!
And then, to take a look at Pentecost
Acts 2, 2-11
When Pentecost day came round, they had all met together, when suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a violent wind which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and there appeared to them tongues as of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak different languages as the Spirit gave them power to express themselves. Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, and each one was bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely,’ they said, ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; residents of Rome- Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs, we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’
Let’s listen carefully to what happened!
God Himself created unity through the Holy Spirit by giving the people present the gift of hearing great deeds in their own language through the preaching of the apostles, even though the disciples only used their mother tongue. This is more than astonishing, because the people “got beside themselves” and asked the question: What does this mean?
What does it mean?
This question we will follow tomorrow!