Note: This is the final reflection of "A Thought from the Bishop's Chapel" written by Bishop Glen John Provost. The first of 74 reflections was posted on March 19, 2020. Bishop Provost began writing the reflections as a way to minister to the faithful after public Masses were suspended on March 17 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension of Masses was lifted on May 1, 2020.
The Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1-11) describes the glorious moment at which the Holy Spirit descended on the Church in Jerusalem. Suddenly, the passage recounts, “a noise like a strong driving wind” descended from the sky along with “tongues as of fire” which parted and settled upon each of those assembled (cf. Acts 2:2-3). God is acting, as when He appeared on Mount Sinai in fire (cf. Exodus 19:18). The Church is being enlivened, set on fire, filled with the Holy Spirit. We are accustomed to saying, the Church is born at Pentecost.
As with every birth, there is new life. This nascent life manifests itself in the gift of tongues. The disciples depart the house and encounter “devout Jews from every nation under heaven” (cf. Acts 2:5). What is astounding is that each visitor to Jerusalem, regardless of origin, hears the disciple proclaim the message in his or her native language.
Truly this is God’s work. The Church is never deprived of that Spirit. She preaches the Gospel everywhere and has done so in every nation. One might say that faith is the common language. All the great missionaries for two thousand years have preached in that same language. It is the language of repentance that leads to eternal life. This is the language that speaks “in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God” (Acts 2:11). This is the language that articulates the message of conversion that leads to salvation, truth that silences falsehood, love that overcomes hate, and hope that defeats despair. Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!