The day of Pentecost on May 15th commemorates the momentous occasion in which the Holy Spirit is said to have come to the disciples, enabling them to speak in various languages in order to spread the news about Jesus. The day of Pentecost has sometimes been called the birthday of the Church.
Why Pentecost and not Easter? Because although the events of Easter stand at the center of the Church’s message, the days following Easter still saw the disciples as a scattered, confused, and bewildered lot. They are still being surprised at Jesus showing up in their homes and on their roads to elsewhere. The gift of the Holy Spirit empowers them to come together and speak with boldness about the things that had happened. In that sense, the Holy Spirit truly creates the Church on that day.
We remember through this commemoration that the Holy Spirit of God can make of us more than we thought we could be, and empowers us to do more than we thought we could do. But often, the feats that God empowers us for are not as grandiose as speaking in tongues and gathering disciples. Some of the things that God calls us into are more humble and more difficult.
Mother’s Day falls on the Sunday before Pentecost and serves as the best example of this reality. A mother’s job is never over for the day; the patience needed is immeasurable; and the sacrifices necessary are too many to count. These two Sundays back to back serve to remind us that being a mother is no less God’s work than preaching is. If any task is holy, it is the work of a mother.
So, as we remember the grand public display of Pentecost, let us also remember the work of God that takes place in the home. It is work that calls for transformation. It is work that requires the gifts of the Spirit. And it is work that indeed is a proclamation of God’s love.
Thanks be to God for the gift of the Spirit, who empowers the people of God to show God’s love in ways both extravagant and humble.
“Let all…preach by their deeds.” – St. Francis of Assisi