Pentecost Reflection

Stephen Lynch Features

The essay below was written by Stephen Lynch before the Feast of Pentecost on May 27.

Since creation, the human race has experienced three unique outpourings of the Holy Spirit.

The first outpouring of the Holy Spirit was at creation. Pre-creation can be summed up in one Aramaic word:  tohu-waboku, i.e. the ocean of chaos, darkness and non-life. Creation began when the Spirit of God overshadowed the tohu-waboku, bringing order out of chaos, light out of darkness, and life out of non-life.

The mysterious beginning of the creation process saw both the outpouring of the Spirit of God and the outpouring of the Mystery of Iniquity.  The first flash point of evil came when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command not to eat the forbidden fruit. Disobedience was followed by fratricide when Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealous hatred. Disobedience and fratricide still plague humanity.

The second outpouring of the Spirit was at the Incarnation, when the Spirit of God overshadowed Mary, resulting in the conception of Jesus Christ, the original Paraclete. Jesus fulfilled this role of “advocate” toward the people he was redeeming.  This term Paraclete is primarily applied to Christ himself, “If anyone should sin, we have in the presence of the Father, Jesus Christ, an Advocate (Paraclete) who is just.” 1 Jn. 2.1

In the Book of Ecclesiastes, the Wiseman Qoheleth, says, “I saw the tears of the oppressed and they had no comforter, no Paraclete.  Power was on the side of their oppressors.”

The third outpouring of the Holy Spirit was on the Feast of Pentecost, a Christian version of the Jewish Feast of Weeks. Pentecost celebrates the birthday of the Church.

The interplay between good and evil generates both love and hate, happiness and suffering, peace and war, truth and falsehood. The Holy Spirit’s transforming love can heal our brokenness, create God-consciousness, and, in the words of the Prophet Micah, empower us, “To do what is right, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with God.” Micah 6. 8

 Fr. Stephen, staff member of St. Francis Chapel in Providence, R.I., writes for both national and local publications.