Pentecost, which for us will be May 27. Easter and Pentecost are tied together by more than just the calendar. The day of Pentecost reminds us how we were before God brought us together. Certainly the disciples “were all together in one place.” But they were like “sheep which have no shepherd” (Numbers 27:17, 2 Chronicles 18:16, Matthew 9:36, and Mark 6:34).
The disciples had repeatedly seen the resurrected Jesus over the forty days after Easter and then watched Jesus ascend. Then they simply returned to the upper room in Jerusalem and cast lots for Judas’ replacement. Beyond these things, the twelve, and other random followers, were mostly afraid, confused, and paralyzed by not knowing what to do next.
Suddenly this haphazard group of believers teetering on the edges of unbelief, or at least having little confidence in what God’s future held for them, experienced something extraordinary.
“There came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them” (Acts 2).They understood one another. No other force could unite a group this diverse as the Holy Spirit did that day of Pentecost.
The same is true today too. Only God’s spirit can unite people like us. Like a mother who seems to be the only one in the house who can get all the children pulling in the same direction, so too does the spirit do this for us. Even the lofty theologian Paul valued the mother-son relationship, writing: “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; and greet his mother—a mother to me also” (Romans 16:13). St. Cyprian said as well as any when he stated: “He can no longer have God for his Father who has not the Church for his mother” (De unitate ecclesiae, vi.). So as we move toward Pentecost and through Mother’s Day, may we bless the mother church as she who nurtures our faith and life.