Pentecost: The Feast of Understanding Each Other’s Language

Stained glass window depicting the Holy Spirit. St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.
Stained glass window depicting the Holy Spirit. St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome.

Wouldn’t it be great if we really understood each other’s languages? What if children actually understood what their parents meant, and parents actually understood what their children were really saying. Imagine getting beyong the words to understanding, so that whatever the words are, the message is often something like, “I love you!” or “Here I am, ready to help you!”

The bad news is that words are a lousy way to communicate. Just as often they confuse the issues of our lives instead of clarifying them. It is words, poorly chosen or hastily spoken, that create most of those boundaries within our church communities, in our neighbourhoods and in our families. Before there is war, there is usually an argument.

But the really good news is this: We have been given the gifts of the Holy Spirit at Baptism and Confirmation, and so we already have within us the capability to hear in our own language what those around us are saying. So it makes sense that Pentecost should be the day when we try to do the same – to really hear and understand what others are trying to say. It’s worth a try!

-Glenn Byer

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