“You of comforters, the best;
You the soul’s most welcome guest…
Solace in the midst of woe.” (from the Sequence of Pentecost)
On this vibrant feast day, birthday of the Church, we consider the healing and reconciling ministry of the Holy Spirit active in our lives. There are two images of the Upper Room presented to us in Scripture today, each separated by a liturgical season of fifty days. In the gospel, Jesus breathes His Holy Spirit directly upon the apostles who were hiding in fear. He directly commissions them to loose and bind others from the chains of their sins. What happened?! Why were they not spilling out onto the streets as men “who were drunk”?
I suppose that there was much the Comforter had to first accomplish as healing for this fledgling faith community. Their intense grief had to be touched, healed, and counseled by His sacred Presence upon them. The Emmaus disciples returned to this Upper Room to share from the discourse offered by the Great Teacher, the Risen One. This would begin the healing of their understanding of how the Messiah truly had to suffer and die for the sins of the people.
At the shore in Galilee, during the fifty days, we see Peter’s tremendous guilt from his betrayal brought forward for healing grace and new commissioning. During these fifty days, we likewise hear the Great Commissioning given at the Ascension, to go forth and proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth.
The Upper Room experience at Pentecost, I contend, was the fruit of the pregnant time of the fifty days of communal healing and reconciliation. They were finally a community healed of their sorrow and guilt. They were finally a reconciled community “of one accord,” including our friend, Thomas! They had been repeatedly commissioned during the fifty days and were NOW READY to spill forth, indeed, to bring the power, might, wisdom and grace of God’s Good News to the ends of the earth.
“Praise be to God Who in His good time
Brings all manner of things to His purpose.”
May we who are living in this gray, COVID time, be healed of our grief, doubt, ignorance and fear and in God’s good time be prepared for OUR Pentecost as individuals and as a community.
– Sr. Claire E. Regan
Prior to her election as a Councilor on the Congregation’s leadership team, Sr. Claire spent nine years on the staff of the SC Federation-sponsored House of Charity in New Orleans. She also served as the Congregation’s Justice Effectiveness Coordinator and as an administrator in the Congregation’s health care and housing ministries.