LOVE AND FEAR

       So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. (Genesis 11)

…suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, like fire, appeared among them… All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…   (Acts 2)

pentecost

…the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you…      

“MANY think differently, feel differently, they seek God or meet God in different ways. In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty we have for all: We are all children of God,” said Pope Francis in January this year. Then he asked us to pray, “That sincere dialogue among men and women of different faiths may produce the fruits of peace and justice.” Finally, Pope Francis assured us, “I trust in your prayers.”

For me these are words of hope, born of love, prayerful words that can come when a person is open to and moved by the Holy Spirit. Precious few such words, it seems to me, can be found on the lips of the hierarchically most influential Christians through the sweep of Anno Domini history. Yet there has been much backlash among the many denominations in response to the Pope’s video message (you can watch it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6FfTxwTX34 ). I find this very sad but I am not surprised. It is the usual reaction for people who live according to fear as opposed to living by and through love.

Pentecost is about being empowered by the Holy Spirit to go the other way, to walk the road less travelled, live according to the Way, the Truth and the Life. The people of Babel described in Genesis 11 lived by fear. They wanted to be in control. They wanted to build a tower to heaven, control destiny. They wanted one language, so that all communication could be monitored, comprehended literally, quantified, nothing left to conjecture or shot through with poetic ambiguity. Much religion is squeezed between similar narrow lines. Why? Because it lends the fearful an illusion of stability and aids the cause of those who would control them. Such condition is confounded in God. God scatters such conceit.

But have faith, says Jesus. Don’t be afraid. I will send you the Paraclete, even the Spirit of Truth. She who will receive this Spirit, poured out for all, accepted by the brave, will no longer live or behave according to fear. She will love and so bring light into the world.

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~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on May 12, 2016.

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