Fr Thomas’ Reflection for Pentecost Sunday

The Church is Born

Jesus did not start a church during his time on earth. The Church was born after his death, on the feast of Pentecost. John, in his Gospel, tells us that the birth of the Church was a new creation God carried out through his Spirit in the light of Jesus’ resurrection.  The first day of the week, according to Genesis, is the start of the creation.  John says on the first day of the week Jesus appeared to his disciples.  Just as Adam was given life by God breathing into the clay image, Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into the disciples, who were mortified because of the fear of the world out there.  The receiving of the spirit was also an experience of God’s peace with all its positivity.  Now they are capable of bringing prosperity and richness to the world.

To know what happened after the disciples received the Holy Spirit, look into the Acts of the Apostles.  The disciples were brave to come out and preach boldly the message of the resurrection of Jesus and the gift of the forgiveness of sins.  This message was to unify the world.  Thus what was shattered by the arrogance and pride of humans, as we read in the story of Babel, (Genesis) is now gifted with mutual understanding, unity and God’s gift of peace.  That was the beginning of the Church, which continues to bring unity wherever there is crisis and unrest.  The Church continues to bring greater life wherever people are mortified for various reasons.  In all these, the Acts of the Apostles makes a point:  in spite of the tireless work of the missionaries, the Church is not actually the product of their labour.   Jesus asked the disciples to wait until they received the Holy Spirit, which they did.  It is only with the Holy Spirit in them that they could produce the kind of result they produced.  That means it is the Holy Spirit who actually brought about the Church, not any human cleverness.

The Church has always been rocked by crises, scandals and corruption.  But none of these actually destroyed the Church.  In fact the crises in history made the Church come out with a renewed vigour each time.  That is because our Church is started and guided by the Holy Spirit, not the cleverness of humans.  But it is important that the disciples keep up the loving communion with Jesus always to enjoy the gift of Peace that the resurrected Jesus offers us.  I pray that the peace of Christ may abound in the world in spite of all the challenges it faces.