Monday, June 1, 2009
Pentecost in Scripture
I've always had a difficult time reconciling the two Pentecost stories found in the New Testament. The best-known is from Acts 2:1-4, where after Jesus spent 40 days on earth, he ascended to heaven and shortly after sent the Spirit. The second passage is John 20:19-23, in which Jesus appears to the disciples shortly after the resurrection and breaths the Holy Spirit on them.
The basic message is that Jesus sent the Spirit to be with the community after his crucifixion and resurrection. This variance in Scripture itself indicates that maybe the community at times confused these two persons of the Trinity. The same thing happens today. Most us of are christological Christians instead of trinitarian Christians. We find ourselves praying almost exclusively to Jesus, which is not wrong, but we often forget that Jesus sent the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that perfects our always imperfect prayers to God.
In relation to this issue, there are those who correctly point out the error of some Catholics of replacing the Holy Spirit with Mary. Although I am not against the cult of Mary, for some Catholics there is a sense that Mary perfects our prayers and brings them to God to the exclusion of the Holy Spirit.
A Faithful Catholic