Dare to Open the Locked Doors

Pentecost Sunday

Acts 2:1-11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, "Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God."

1 Corinthians 12:3B-7,12-13

Brothers and sisters: No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

John 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

“And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind … there appeared to them tongues as of fire” (Acts 2:2,3). Is it a bird? A plane? Superman? If people gathered in that large crowd had cell phones, what images would they capture and what outrageous comments would they share on their social media platforms? What would it feel like to be there in person to see the power of the Holy Spirit unfold on the day of Pentecost?

In truth, we have already received the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Whether there are tongues of fire dancing above our head is another story! Honestly, I don’t recall any strong wind, loud noises, or dancing fires during my own Confirmation; yet, in the quietness and serenity of the chapel, my heart was filled to the brim with peace and joy, and most importantly, a conviction to live up to the name with which God had called me. I am deeply grateful for being chosen; to know and love God, to have a faithful companion and teacher, Jesus, journeying with me, and to have received the precious gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord.

While opening our eyes to recognize that “Jesus is Lord”, the Holy Spirit also reveals to us who we are in the eyes of God (1Cor 12:3). We are God’s beloved children, endowed with “different kinds of spiritual gifts”, and “as a body is one though many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body” (1Cor 12:12). We all belong to the one body of Christ and each one of us is an integral part of the whole. God gives each one of us unique gifts so that we may perform “different forms of service” and “different workings”, all for the benefit of each other and making God’s kingdom a reality in our midst (1 Cor 12:5).

Indeed, evangelization is a difficult endeavour; however, if we are in possession of such great treasures of faith, hope, and love, how could we keep them to ourselves? “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked”, the first words Jesus said to his friends were, “Peace be with you” (Jn 20:19,21). Indeed, the Spirit gives us peace, first and foremost, tiling the soil of our heart to receive the gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. Let’s not forget the “Advocate” promised by Jesus is here to be with us forever (Jn 14:15). This is the same Spirit that empowered the disciples “to speak in different tongues as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim” (Acts 2:4).

Therefore, with peace, joy, and renewed courage in our heart, we dare to open the locked doors and venture out into the world. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (Jn 20:21). As Jesus commissions the disciples, so are we commissioned to bring the Good News to the four corners of the world; to heal the broken-hearted, to restore hope to the hopeless, to bring peace and joy to a fragmented world, and to love as God has loved us.

If I were there on the day of the Pentecost, I would use my cell phone to capture the lightless of the tongues of fire dancing over the disciples’ heads, the expression of joy, peace, and courage on each of their faces, the different reactions of those in the crowd; I imagine some would look on with disbelief, amazement, or shock, while others with anticipation, hope, and joy. Most of all, I would definitely record what “mighty acts of God” the disciples were proclaiming in so many different languages. I imagine that even though I may not fully comprehend everything that was proclaimed but, like Mary, I would hold and “treasured all these words and pondered them” in my heart (Lk 2:19).

Posted: May 23, 2021

Susanna Mak

Susanna深信,信仰需要在日常生活中顯露出來,尤其是當與別人相處時,需要分擔對方所面對的困境、抉擇和挑戰。她有着很多不同的身份:女兒、姐姐、朋友、姨姨、妻子、老師、校牧、終身學習者和偶爾替《生命恩泉》寫作的作者。在每一個身份當中, 她努力為天主的愛和希望作見証。 她在多倫多擔任高中教師近二十年,擁有英語、學生讀寫能力、青年領袖活動、校牧組等經驗。 她是多倫多大學商業和英語學士,教育學士,亞省Athabasca大學綜合研究碩士,以及擁有多倫多大學Regis學院神學研究碩士證書。她對於成為《生命恩泉》寫作團隊的一份子, 深感榮幸。 Susanna has a deep conviction that faith needs to be manifested in daily life, particularly, in one’s encounters with others as well as amidst dilemmas, choices, and challenges. She strives to be a living sign of God’s love and hope as a daughter, sister, friend, aunt, wife, teacher, chaplain, life-long learner, and occasional writer for FLL. She has been a high school teacher in Toronto for almost 20 years, with experiences in English and literacy, youth leadership initiatives, the Chaplaincy Team, to mention a few. She has a B. Comm, B.A. in English, and a B. Education from University of Toronto, an M.A. in Integrated Studies from Athabasca University, and a Graduate Certificate of Theological Studies from Regis College, U of T. She is humbled by the opportunity to be part of the FLL Writing Team.

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