Mystic Mantra: Unique, and united in spirit

Today is International Day of Biodiversity

An atheist had a big poster in his room that read: “God is nowhere.” Just learning to read, his little daughter struggled to decipher the last word on the poster and read aloud, “God is now here.” Thereafter, in the company of his little child, the atheist couldn’t but help feel: God is now, here. While atheists assert God is nowhere, believers often sense the presence and power of God’s Spirit everywhere.

Today is International Day of Biodiversity. On Sunday Christians celebrate a Spirit-Fest: Pentecost. Both these feasts celebrate unity-in-diversity. Pentecost — from Greek, meaning “50th day” — traditionally commemorated the giving of God’s Law through Moses at Mount Sinai. Centuries later, Jesus’ first disciples would celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit 50 days after his death-and-resurrection. This event would transform them from a band of tearful, fearful followers into faithful, fearless proclaimers of the “good news” that God is parent of everyone, and we’re all sisters and brothers.

The Acts of the Apostles record significant details of Pentecostal unity-in-diversity. First, the disciples, along with Jesus’ mother, Mary, were jointly praying for spiritual strength. Second, a mighty wind blew and “tongues spreading out like fire rested upon each of them”. Third, “each of them was filled with God’s Spirit and began to speak in other languages as God’s Spirit enabled them”. Fourth, a miracle took place — those who heard them said, “Aren’t all those who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that each one of us hears them in our own native language?” The word “glossa” in the text can mean both, “tongue” and “language”.

Miraculously, at Pentecost, when “tongues” of fire descend upon the disciples, they speak a “language” comprehensible to all! Pentecost marks the birthday of the Church-community and inspires Christians to be truly “Catholic”, meaning, “universal”.

Francis Gonsalves is a professor of theology. He can be contacted at

( Source : dc )
Next Story